The WLGA supports Welsh Government proposals announced today to review and possibly replace the Communities First programme with a new approach to meet the Wales’ future challenges.
Commenting on the announcement, WLGA Leader Cllr Bob Wellington CBE said:
“Although it has evolved over the years, Communities First has been in existence for 15 years. Whilst it has made a positive impact in many areas, Wales’ communities and public services now face a wider range of challenges and it is therefore timely to review whether Communities First remains fit for purpose and explore the establishment of a new approach.”
“Communities First was a clear attempt to try something different in areas experiencing some of the most difficult economic, social and environmental conditions in Wales. It resulted in some positive outcomes in many communities but also ran into problems in key areas. With the Well-being of Future Generations Act now in place, there is a framework for public bodies and their partners to support people living in the areas targeted by Communities First as part of a more integrated approach that, crucially, considers linkages with areas of growth and opportunity.”
“Regional development efforts across Wales are driving a more comprehensive approach to economic development and regeneration and have the potential to deliver better results than the targeted, area-based interventions that characterised Communities First. This is particularly the case when it comes to dealing with Adverse Childhood experiences which requires a more dedicated policy approach.”
“We particularly welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to engage with partners in this review. It is important to learn lessons from the Communities First programme and, in particular, to recognise the progress made in terms of involving communities – one of the key requirements of the Well-being Act. It is also important that the dedication, skills and knowledge of the Communities First teams across Wales are recognised and that their experience is used to inform and support new approaches that will be needed – especially as many of the problems that Communities First was designed to tackle still remain.”