£1m Prevention Fund to improve lives

Local councillors and Somerset’s Youth Parliament will be helping distribute a new £1m County Council Prevention Fund, under plans being looked at next week.

The fund, which will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on Monday (10 June), has been set-up to finance Council work and community projects that prevent issues, problems and needs developing; or tackling them early to stop them escalating. In doing so it aims to improve lives while reducing future demand on the Council’s services, helping the authority remain sustainable in the long-term.

A figure of £25,000 will be set aside for elected members of the Somerset Youth Parliament to distribute on initiatives that focus on young people.

At the same time, grants of £2,000 will be provided to each County Councillor (a total pot of £125K) to support local voluntary and community group initiatives in their area that help improve lives and support prevention. The ‘Members Improving Lives Grant Scheme’ will help communities develop activities which encourage people to join together. For example, projects to reduce loneliness and isolation, encourage gardening and healthy eating – anything that helps improve emotional health and wellbeing.

Exciting plans are being considered for the remaining £850,000 and details will be shared when projects are agreed.

Leader of the Council, Councillor David Fothergill, said: “This council is all about improving lives, and doing that while coping with the financial pressures and uncertainties of local government funding.

“To do that we have to change the way we do things. We need to move from being an organisation that tends to react to pressures and demands, to one even more focused on preventing them in the first place or stopping them escalating. This prevention fund is an important step in that direction.”

Under the Members Improving Lives Grant Scheme, councilors will be able to submit applications from 1 September to 30 November 2019. Details of the Youth Parliament grant distribution and timescales are being drawn-up.

You can find details of the Improving Lives to Prevent Demand Fund, the Members Improving Lives Grant Scheme and the Somerset Young People Fund on the Council’s website http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=734&Ver=4