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Communities First

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Communities First is a community focussed tackling poverty programme.

On the 14th February 2017, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children announced that the Communities First Programme would be phased out by March 2018. The Cabinet Secretary’s decision follows a broad period of engagement with Communities First staff, community members and supporting partners and stakeholders across Wales. This included over 2,300 online survey responses, facilitated focus groups and correspondence.  

Arad Research, on behalf of the Welsh Government has summarised the responses received.

A transcript of his announcement explaining his decision along with the measures that will be taken to lessen the impact of the phasing out of Communities First, and a transition to a new approach to building resilient communities can be read on the National Assembly’s website (external link). 

Communities First has been successful in its impact on many individuals in poverty, but it has not had an impact on overall poverty levels in Wales, which remain stubbornly high. Within the context of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and other legislative and policy changes since the programme was first established, a new cross-government approach is needed. An approach which deals with the root causes of poverty, recognises that communities are best placed to decide at a local level where to focus efforts, and is not limited by the postcode people live in.

We have listened to thousands of people who have benefited from Communities First. Their views about the programme and our proposed new approach focused on employment, early years and empowerment, have been carefully considered.

This feedback has helped to shape our new approach, which will be to phase out Communities First and sharpen our focus on helping people into work, giving children the best start in life, and ensuring people’s voices are heard in the design of local services.

There will be extensive support available in the coming months for Lead Delivery Bodies and Cluster areas, to ensure exit strategies are in place and the transition to a new approach to building Resilient Communities is both collaborative and involving.