Welsh communities fund to get clearer focus

A new three-year £25m fund to boost community regeneration in Wales will be focused more closely than its predecessor on projects that provide clear and lasting benefit to deprived communities, the Welsh Assembly Government has announced.

The Outcomes Fund replaces the Assembly Government's original Communities First programme, which was established in 2002 to allow community groups to bid for money to improve their local areas.

Existing partnerships will be able to apply for the funding, but will have to explain how their proposals will contribute to priorities such as tackling poverty and improving employability. They will also need to show that they have engaged with local people and public bodies.

The programme, which will continue to be known as Communities First, will also contain new measures to intervene where projects are struggling to make an impact.

Leighton Andrews, deputy minister for regeneration, said: "I want to make sure that Communities First makes a significant difference to local communities and really adds value.

"Although the majority of existing posts and activity will continue for at least a further three years, some current funding arrangements will not be renewed after April 2009."

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