Communities First is the Welsh Government’s Community Focussed Tackling Poverty Programme. The programme supports the most disadvantaged people in the most deprived areas of Wales with the aim of contributing to alleviating persistent poverty and is based on small groups of communities working together and sharing resources to tackle local issues. Each group is called a Communities First Cluster. Most clusters have a population of between 10,000 and 15,000 people. The programme focuses on three strands: Learning, Prosperity and Health.
There are four Communities First Clusters in Neath Port Talbot:
- Neath Cluster which includes, Neath Town Centre, Neath East, Fairyland and Briton Ferry.
- Afan Cluster, which includes Glyncorrwg, Cymmer, Gwynfi, Cwmafan and Pelenna.
- Western Valleys Cluster, which includes Banwen, Onllwyn, Seven Sisters and Ystradgynlais and Ystalyfera.
- Sandfields/Aberavon Cluster.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council is the Lead Delivery Body for all four Clusters.
All four clusters have agreed delivery programmes and each has individual project plans for the three main programme themes. Each cluster also has an engagement strategy, which outlines how the cluster will engage with its communities and other organisations.
- Communities First Strategic Officer – Angeline Spooner Cleverly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cluster Manager Afan – Louise McAndrew: email@example.com
- Cluster Manager Western Valley – Denise Lewis: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cluster Manager Neath – David Edwards: email@example.com
- Cluster Manager Sandfields & Aberavon – Christine Esposito
Communities First Lessons Learned
The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee has published its report on the lessons learned from the Communities First programme.
In February 2017, the Welsh Government announced that Communities First would be phased out. The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee decided to examine the decision, and to see if there were any lessons to learn for future anti-poverty programmes.
The report makes eleven recommendations. It recommends that local authorities identify the programmes that were beneficial to communities and ensure that they continue to be delivered by other statutory bodies. It suggests that the Welsh Government develops a strategy for tackling poverty, and works together with organisations such as the Bevan Foundation or the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to develop poverty indicators, so that progress can be measured.
These recommendations were welcomed by the Bevan Foundation.
To read the report in full, please visit the National Assembly for Wales website.