Walsall Cabinet recognises that the Voluntary and Community Sector in Walsall makes a significant contribution in helping the borough’s communities prosper and stay resilient. It is therefore considering three reports to strengthen its commitment to the sector:
Councillor Garry Perry, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said: ‘Our commitment to the voluntary sector has never been clearer. A trio of Cabinet reports;
1) Voluntary and community sector – a new way of working.
2) One Walsall – future funding
3) Community Asset Transfer policy
re-set this relationship with clear foundations for the future growth of this sector across Walsall.’
As a pledge of commitment to our Voluntary and Community services, Cabinet will also consider signing ‘a partnership agreement’ between both parties which, if approved by the Council and its public sector partners, will lead to an improved level of involvement and commitment to the sector. Cabinet understands that the harnessing of ‘people power’ positively contributes to communities. There is work all across the borough giving groups and individuals opportunities to work with us in a new and positive ways often delivering services in different and more resident focused ways.
One Walsall has made considerable improvements since 2016 to develop a more sustainable infrastructure for the future. This sustainable journey includes the re-branding of Walsall Voluntary Action to ‘One Walsall’ – in its refreshed form ‘the organisation aims to support the growth of the VCS sector including social and economic enterprises – including public sector transformation and the delivery of external services that connect people and bring communities together’.
Cabinet will also consider supporting One Walsall for the next three years (April 2019 -2022) through a community development grant that is aided by a trinity of local fundraisers; including Walsall Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Visionary Investment Enhancing Walsall Limited (VIEW).
The Cabinet is also looking at how it manages and prioritises the use of surplus council properties by making these available for community use. It will consider a report which highlights how some of its properties may provide valuable accommodation for voluntary sector organisations and explore the advantages of transferring the management of some of those properties to local community groups. The report suggests adopting a clear policy on what is known as community asset transfer (CAT) that provides transparent, formal arrangements between the council and the third sector. The policy will ensure future council assets are leased to bodies best placed to provide continuity of services for their community.
Deputy Leader of Walsall Council, Cllr Andrew said:
‘The voluntary sector plays a vital role in communities across the borough and our properties provide an all-important base for them. Transferring management of these properties gives these groups reassurance and a degree of autonomy. It also supports the council’s aspiration for a vibrant and sustainable voluntary and community sector’
Notes to editors
• The council is proud of the VCS which delivers many services in Walsall.
• Services such as ‘Reading Rooms in Pelsall’ and Walsall Night Shelter would not be in existence without people power and the drive and support from volunteers
• Supporting a strong VCS promotes greater sector growth through social and economic enterprises, and helps public sector transformation to bring communities together