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Why am I supporting Our Place?

Most people know what will help them live their lives better in their communities. My route to working with communities, and then onto my role at CDF, was via taking my daughter to a toddler group in my local community. Then, as she reached school age, and with siblings behind her, I realised I needed childcare. This was a service missing from my area and something myself and other parents agreed we really needed.

So in response to this need, we took the opportunity of new funds to set up an out-of-school club. Three years later in 2000, we had become an organisation opening a new community centre. At that point we realised that the ad hoc crèche facilities the centre was providing just weren’t hitting the spot for many parents, so we turned it into a registered nursery.

Before we knew it, we had childcare for 0 – 12+ from 8am to 6pm every week day, comprising a nursery, playgroup, toddler group and an out-of-school club. We had created ‘wrap-around’ care before it became a hot political topic, and 17 years later it’s still servicing the community.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, at that time it wasn’t but when I heard about the Our Place approach, where communities are supported to influence how local services are designed, planned and delivered, I knew it was something CDF should be involved in delivering.

What is on offer for our communities?

Our Place is a £4.3m package of support and grants to give people more power over local services and budgets in their neighbourhoods, aligning these with all the other resources that the community can bring. They can develop an operational plan to make sure that things work in the best way for local people.

What is CDF’s involvement?

CDF is a delivery partner in Our Place and we are responsible for the grant payments to successful applicants. To date we have already paid out 15 of the grants which have been accepted onto the programme.

I am particularly proud to be involved in this programme, which seeks to support neighbourhood areas to work collaboratively to address a shared priority or local service area, such as healthcare, employment or childcare. It chimes well with CDF’s purpose, as we are passionate about empowering communities where local people are at the centre of change.

Where are the grants going?

Grants have been paid out to groups in both rural and urban communities across England.

One rural organisation benefiting is Draycott Parish Council near Derby in the East Midlands, who have been awarded £3,000. The funding will be used by the Council to consult with residents to find out what they would like to see in the village to improve their health and well-being. They are particularly focusing on the best way to create structured activities over the school holidays for school-aged children, as well as ways to encourage community groups to exercise regularly.

In comparison, Transition Town Totnes, a Market Town in Devon has been awarded £3,000 to continue their work with all three tiers of local government to create environmental, social and economic resilience in the community. Their priority is to maximise the resources of Totnes to enable it to be a truly ‘caring town’, identifying and helping its most vulnerable residents.