Welsh Government extends programme to support deprived communities

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A programme to combat poverty and promote education, health and economic prosperity in deprived areas in Wales has been extended.

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The Communities First programme, delivered in 52 areas or ‘clusters’ identified as the top ten per cent most deprived parts of Wales, will now run until the end of the Welsh Assembly’s term in May 2016.

The programme, which was set up in 2001 and re-launched in 2012 with funding of £75m, was originally due to end after March 2015.

Funding for the extension of the programme has yet to be announced.

Under the programme, Communities First delivery teams work with residents, community organisations and other key agencies to support community-based projects and activities aimed at helping people develop new skills, retrain or access employment and improve well-being.

Speaking at the Communities First conference in Swansea, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert said, ‘Communities across Wales continue to cope with the double impact of cuts to public spending and a struggling economy. By committing to extending Communities First, the Welsh Government shows its determination to continue to take action and do all we can to tackle poverty and support our communities.’

Earlier this month, the Welsh Assembly pledged an extra £3m for education initiatives and childcare in the 52 clusters as part of the new Tackling Poverty Small Grants Fund.



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