The Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund reaches local communities directly and should be a priority for the Scottish Government in the forthcoming Spending Review, according to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.
Issuing a briefing on the Fund, GWSF says that housing associations acting as anchor bodies in their local community particularly value the fact that the PCF goes directly to community organisations rather than being channelled through local authorities or other intermediary bodies.
The People and Communities Fund (PCF) was introduced in 2012 as a replacement for the previous Wider Role Fund, which was available exclusively to housing associations. Open to a wide range of bodies, the PCF’s main purpose is to support the regeneration of communities. Projects it funds include housing support services for vulnerable people, services to promote financial capability and digital inclusion, and the provision of community hubs.The briefing shows that the PCF this year stands at £10.8m, after jumping from around £6m between 2012 and 2015 to £13.4m in 2015/16. The current housing association share of the Fund is £5 million (around 46%) as against a peak of £12 million under the Wider Role Fund in 2008/09.
GWSF Chair Peter Howden said:
“Almost half of our members receive funding for local services from the PCF and it’s a highly valued source of support. We’re sure that even more community controlled housing associations would apply for funding if the money was there.
“We obviously recognise that the PCF is no longer exclusively for housing associations, but it does mean that associations’ share of funding is now less than half what it used to be, at a time when the important role of community anchor bodies is rightly being talked up.
“The PCF and the previous Wider Role Fund have been crucial in enabling the provision of services and activities which might be beyond the scope of the statutory services to support, and this situation will only intensify as the pressure on public services grows.
“The PCF is also an important complement to the 50,000 homes programme. In the context of the £3 billion which is behind that programme, taking the PCF beyond its current £10.8 million would create greater opportunities to combine the provision of new homes with the right community regeneration input.”