1 Introduction and overview
The Children's Fund nationally is an important
government initiative based within the Department of
Health. Its intention is to ensure that all of Britain's
children aged five to thirteen years get the best possible
start in life, participate fully in all the statutory
and voluntary opportunities open to them, and lay a
firm foundation to live happy and fulfilled lives. In
particular, the Children's Fund aims to minimise
social exclusion however it arises, and to reduce youth
crime and youth nuisance.
The amount awarded to each County Council or Unitary
Authority was decided using a complex formula called
the Standard Indices of Deprivation which takes into
account a range of factors which may make individuals
or communities more likely to become socially excluded
or otherwise disadvantaged. On this basis Hampshire's
allocation is £2.4 million per year for the three
years 2003 to 2006.
Governmental control over the Children's Fund
in Hampshire is exercised via the Children and Young
Person's Unit (CYPU) and the Government office
for the South East (GOSE).
Hampshire County Council acts as the accountable body
for the fund.
Local decisions are made by the Hampshire Partnership
Board and Executive Committees, which also manage the
strategic direction of the local spending and are responsible
for demonstrating value for money and effectiveness.
The direct management of the Fund, its administration
and links with Government are the role of the Programme
Manager and Headquarters staff.
As far as possible decisions about how the money should
be spent at a local level are devolved down to ten Local
Partnership Groups across Hampshire, based upon City,
Borough and District Council areas. They are made up
of local people from a wide range of voluntary, statutory
and charitable organisations, and are required to consult
with local people in general, and children and young
people in particular about what local communities view
as priorities in their area. Money must be targeted
at the most deprived wards although overlap with other
areas is allowed.
At the time of writing there are 157 projects up and
running across Hampshire, ranging in cost from £200
to more than £ 60,000 which provide services to
more than 15,000 young people.
Projects themselves are very wide ranging, everything
from capital grants for skate-parks, Healthy Living
initiatives, Homework and Breakfast Clubs, Diversity
and Anti-Bullying schemes through to projects to help
young carers and prisoner's families.
Local democracy and the participation of service-users
are very important elements of all Children's
Fund schemes, and Local Partnership Groups must demonstrate
how they have involved young people and other service
users in the planning and review of services.
2 Strategic Direction and Monitoring
Children's Funds have a wide ranging discretion
to configure services to provide the ‘best fit'
with local need. Hampshire's Strategic Plan was
commended by GOSE. Funding is proportionally allocated
to each Local Partnership Group at the start of each
financial year. Following local consultation and discussion
proposals are put forward for consideration by the Partnership
Board. The seven sub-objectives of the Children's
Fund have been condensed into five themes within our
Strategic Plan. Therefore, proposals must fall within
one of The Five Themes to be considered. They are:
· ACCESS : Broadly to provide safe, affordable
services for children and young people in rural communities,
or new build without sufficient infrastructure to support
such services. Services need to be responsive to local
need , flexible, and culturally sensitive.
· HOME, SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY: Projects to address
issues around lack of attachment to education, either
for young people excluded or frequently absent, or who
are not encouraged to value education and for those
who from an early age may fail to engage with education,
who have poor social skills, or are bullied. Services
need to be welcoming, flexible and able to engage Hard
to Reach Groups.
· HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: Projects which will
address issues around drugs, alcohol, substance abuse
and sex. Services will seek to reduce anxiety, fear
of bullying, social isolation and low self esteem. Other
projects in this category will address the need for
healthy eating and exercise.
· CREATIVITY AND FUN: Projects which allow children
and young people to have good experiences and fun, whilst
feeling safe and protected from harm. These projects
are about creativity, working with others, building
relationships with peers and families. They encourage
taking responsibility for self and others.
· COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE: Projects that
allow the voice of the child to be heard, and to influence
others, especially adults in authority, and which allow
them to contribute to decisions affecting young people,
their families and local communities. These projects
will help to allow young people to influence the way
Children's Fund money is spent, and also to address
any feelings of lack of confidence, low morale and exclusion.
The Children's Fund cannot be seen in isolation; it
is a crucial part of the developing Local Preventative
Strategy for all young people across Hampshire. Services
are monitored and reviewed locally, and are subject
to rigorous scrutiny from GOSE and CYPU.
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