Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee previously agreed to create the community pot using various one-off funding sources, and in November 2020 approved the process for applications.
This stated they must address Covid-19 hardship in Hartlepool, have clear outcomes, not duplicate or replace existing schemes, and have an exit strategy to provide a long term impact from the use of the one-off resources.
A total of 18 applications were received and considered by a panel which comprised of council officers for children’s and adult services, the director of public health and a representative from Hartlepower.
Officers stressed no councillors were involved on the panel and in the decision making process.
The panel unanimously agreed to recommend to the Finance and Policy Committee that five of the applications were supported in full, and that a sixth application was part funded.
Councillors, at their meeting on February 15, approved the allocation of the funding from the community pot as recommended by the panel.
Projects to be created using the community pot include a scheme to provide accessible IT equipment and training, which received £24,300.
A total of £15,000 is to be used for a project supporting housing and counselling for the homeless and vulnerable.
A ‘Community Led Inclusion Partnership’ is to receive £48,800 from the funding, while £40,900 is to go to a ‘Get Connected’ project supporting digital inclusion.
A proposal for a Hartlepool financial inclusion partnership will receive £36,500 from the pot.
Finally a project providing financial advice and support, including benefits appeals, is to receive £34,500, despite having requested £60,700.
Other funding routes are now being explored to meet the whole amount requested.
Cllr Shane Moore, Hartlepool Borough Council leader, said councillors were eager to ensure the funding would be used to meet the outlined criteria and benefit residents.
He said: “We were very keen to make sure that grants were used for projects that would show that they would be sustainable once the grant funding ran out, and that they weren’t a duplication of services.”
Council officers confirmed they were confident those that were chosen met the criteria previously highlighted.
Councillors also stressed it is important robust vetting processes are in place for applications such as this.
Cllr John Tennant added: “I’m confident that officers will have gone through this with a fine tooth comb.”
Council officers said updates will be given back to the Finance and Policy Committee on how the funding is being used and what has been achieved.
These decisions followed the committee previously allocating £25,000 from the pot to support a programme of activities for young people.
A total of £10,000 will be used to provide sail training for vulnerable young people on the Black Diamond through the company Sailing North East.
This will pre-purchase approximately 34 days at sea for five young people per day, providing opportunities for 170 young people in total.
The remaining £15,000 will be used to enhance and expand the reach of the existing Sport England ‘Family Fund’ project which is delivering a range of activities encouraging low income families to engage in physical activity.