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New guidance helps communities take local facilities into their own hands

New guidance which will help community groups who wish to take on the management of local facilities which are under threat of closure, such as leisure centres and libraries, has been launched recently by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates.

The guidance is aimed at supporting community groups who are interested in taking over a local facility, with step by step guidance on a range of issues from developing a community group, producing business plans and accessing expert advice and funding. 

According to recent survey work carried out across Wales, 81% of facilities are still managed by local authorities, in the next three years this is likely to reduce to a little over 50% and could reduce further. It is therefore likely that more community groups will consider taking ownership of a community asset, which may be under threat from funding cuts or closure. 

The new Community Transfer Asset Toolkit has been developed as part of a commitment by the Deputy Minister to work with local authorities to reduce the impact budget challenges may have on the future of sport, arts and cultural facilities in communities across Wales. 

The Deputy Minister said:
“With local authorities facing increasing financial pressure, it is an unfortunate reality that some services will suffer. I am concerned about the impact this will have on sports and cultural facilities in our communities and am committed to working with local authorities to reduce the impact as much as possible.
“There is a real willingness in Wales to make the asset transfer process work for the benefit of communities, but there is a lack of knowledge about the process, about funding sources and about where to go for specific support. The guidance I will launch today has been developed to address this lack of knowledge and support communities to protect the under-threat services that matter to them.”
The Deputy Minister launched the new guidance at Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre, which was successfully obtained by the Aneurin Trust last year and is seen as an example of how a community asset can be maintained and improved following a transfer of ownership. 

The Deputy Minister said:

“The Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre speaks volumes about the power of sport to help regenerate an area and to provide a sense of a community solidarity. There was a genuine desire on both sides to ensure that customers and the community received the best service.”

The Deputy Minister will welcome comments from those who use the guidance on how they found the process and what could be improved so it can continually be updated and made as effective as possible.

RELATED LINKS

Community Asset Transfer
 
Channel website: http://gov.wales

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