Community projects in Devon TAP into funding


Posted on: 19 February 2015

A funding project bringing together county, district, town and parish councils is kickstarting community projects across Devon and hopes to do more in 2015.

The ‘Town and Parish Fund’  or TAP is the name given to the initiative whereby Devon County Council allocates £1 per elector per annum and district councils contribute 10p per elector, totalling around £600,000

This money is available for towns and parishes to join together to apply for funding that can make a difference to their communities.

Well over half a million pounds was allocated to a huge range of projects from village hall improvements to new footpaths. It also funded emergency drainage clearance, a community bee keeping project and community defibrillators.

The idea behind the TAP fund is to stimulate ideas and encourage parishes and communities to work together. Organisations are also encouraged to make a financial contribution to allow them to be more proactive and to take a lead in creating greater community resilience. The funding is administered by district councils.

Devon County Council Leader John Hart, said; “Devon County Council is continuing to make funds available to communities to use how they see best. This money is available to Parish and Town Councils to spend in ways that will benefit their communities. I firmly believe decisions should be made as locally as possible to encourage local accountability and I have always advocated more partnership with our district, town and parish colleagues. If we believe in the ‘resilience’ of our smaller communities, then this is one way of pump-priming activity”.

“This is a good opportunity for town and parish councils to get together and make a local investment in their area towards the things that matter and are important to them. There have been plenty of examples where parish councils have collaborated, providing more impetus to their project, fostering partnerships and making successful applications so I would certainly recommend this way of working.” Cabinet Member for Performance and Engagement, Cllr Barry Parsons

Lesley Smith from the Devon Association of Local Councils said; “The TAP funding is giving a real boost to projects in the county and we can see long lasting effects which in turn are prompting a feeling of optimism and closer working relationships within communities. In many cases, they’ve been the catalyst to encourage more volunteering in a particular area and cross parish working which would not have happened otherwise.”

Some examples include;

North Devon, over £55,000 was allocated to a wide variety of projects including a Saturday morning sport club, play area improvements, lengthsman work, grass/ weed cutting dog bins, a noticeboard and a tree survey.

In particular Fremington with Instow, Westleigh and Horwood, Lovacott and Newton Tracey worked together to replace the 40 chairs in Lovacott Village Hall. The other parishes in the group borrow the chairs if needed. Another purchase was a set of Eco Warriers High Visibility Tabards for use by teams of volunteers doing jobs like litter clearance, and equipment for a multi play area in Fremington.

The villages of Atherington and Chittlehampton came together with the aim of supplying a defibrillator for Umberleigh Village Hall. The project was so successful that funds were found to supply one for Atherington as well. Volunteers have been trained to use the machines by the Ambulance Service.

In Torridge nearly £80,000 was allocated to help provide funds for a horticultural show, a community transport scheme, village hall improvements, play area improvements and defibrillators.

In East Devon nearly £85,000 went towards public access to woodland, computer equipment to teach computer skills, gazebos for community events, a water tap at allotments, knotweed removal, bus shelters and a hawking contractor to reduce the numbers of seagulls in town centres.

In West Devon, approximately £42,000 has been ploughed into a variety of community initiatives including Wi-Fi for village halls in Exbourne & Jacobstowe and Belstone & South Tawton. Defibrillators and training for Buckland Monachorum and  Dartmoor Forest. In the parishes of Sticklepath, Belstone, Sampford Courtney, improvements have been made to the 1st South Zeal Scout Hut.

Over £75,000 was used in Teignbridge for tourism marketing initiatives, defibrillators, play areas, new footpaths, tree work, floodlights for the multi sport court and a social isolation and community care project.

In the South Hams over £75,000 has been allocated for village hall improvements drainage clearance, emergency lengthsman work, lighting equipment for local drama/operatic society and community skip hire.

Also new for the 2013/14 period around £4,000 has been made available in the South Hams for a shared reading group involving nine parishes in the Yealm and Erme area and working alongside national charity ‘The Reader Organisation’ to help people with memory loss.

The group covers the parishes of Wembury, Brixton, Yealmpton, Newton & Noss ,Holbeton, Modbury, Ermington, Ugborough and Kingston.

The group meets weekly (term time only) at The Pavilion, The Recreation Ground, Modbury on Thursday mornings from 10.30am to  12.00 noon. These sessions are free and refreshments are provided.

Initially this group will run until Christmas, however training is being provided for two local people to take the group on from January 2015 and to look at training more group readers and extending the group into the Wembury area in 2015.

In Mid Devon just over £50,000 has gone towards publicity materials, village hall improvements, play areas, resurfacing a car park, CCTV, uniforms for a town band, and a community bee-keeping project.

In Exeter, over £90,000 has helped fund ‘Nightstop Devon’ developing a crashpad project to offer longer term housing for vulnerable homeless 16-25 year olds and towards the Exeter Citizens Advice Centre to support specialist advice to clients affected by welfare change.

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