Riverside Warehouse, South Riverside Community Development Centre

Cuts to Communities First programme are ‘short-sighted’

13 March 2018

Staff at one of Cardiff ‘s last Communities First projects say the Welsh Government is short-sighted to stop funding the service.

The scheme was aimed at helping disadvantaged communities, but the Welsh Government is phasing it out because it is not reducing overall poverty levels in Wales.

The Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown Communities First scheme at the South Riverside Community Development Centre will finish at the end of the month with more than 50 people losing their jobs.

The government has spent more than £300m since the scheme began in 2001 with four schemes in Cardiff affected by the Wales-wide funding cuts.

Manager of BRG Communities First, Allan Herbert says he is devastated by the cuts to funding, arguing that it has not failed: “I certainly know that within Cardiff, it was a success,” he told CJS News.

Kinsey Hayan, from Riverside has worked for the centre under the Communities First scheme said she is heartbroken: “It’s very sad. It’s like I’ve lost a member of my family.”

Russell Todd is the manager of the Communities First Support Service for the whole of Wales and is helping centres to cope once the funding has gone.

He said although the scheme helped many communities in Wales, it did not tackle the root causes of poverty.

But Director for South Riverside Community Development Centre, Neil Binnell said they will do their best to stay open.

“We will continue to run the English as a Second Language classes but with just a few workers running the centre, we will have to look for funding elsewhere to help the community.”

The Welsh Government say £6m will be available to local authorities to help centres across Wales after the programme ends.

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