After the explosion that tore through the heart of New Ferry last year, local people are being supported to help the community bounce back - and then move forward - in the coming years.
The town has today been announced as one of 20 places nationwide that will take part in the Place Based Social Action programme, which is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money, and is managed by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
During the first phase of the programme, 20 local partnerships in England have been selected to work with Locality, the national network for community organisations, to identify potential social action opportunities and develop a locally-informed social action plan.
A local bid, co-ordinated by the New Ferry Town Team, is one of the 20 to be selected and over the next 10 months local people and groups will be supported by experts to develop a shared vision and plan to use social action to address local priorities.
In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking part in the first stage of the programme will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to implement the social action plans they developed during this first phase. Following this, up to five places will receive up to £255,000 to continue delivering and developing their plans over a further three years.
The New Ferry team will shortly begin work on the programme, which in the first phase is very much about evaluating the area and laying the foundations for a social action plan which will build on the area’s existing strengths and address areas where it is not so strong.
Cllr Matthew Patrick, Cabinet member for Localism and Engagement for Wirral Council, said:
“This is really positive news for New Ferry. It is recognition of the role the community plays in the area – and particularly how it came together with such tenacity and resilience in the wake of last year’s explosion.
“Taking part in this programme will help these individuals and groups in New Ferry harness their ideas and commitment and put them into a co-ordinated plan for social action, which may then qualify for funding to enable the plans to be implemented. The council will be supporting the Town Team to develop the strongest possible plan it can to ensure New Ferry progresses to the second phase.”
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This programme is about supporting communities to work together to tackle the social issues that matter in their area. It is designed to ensure solutions are created by local people for local people and we’re looking forward to seeing how these plans develop over the next year.”
Cllr Patrick added: “Whilst we welcome this announcement today, we remain disappointed that to date, Wirral Council has yet to receive any response from the Department of Communities and Local Government to a request for financial support for a wider regeneration plan for New Ferry that we submitted to them more than two months ago.”