Self-Isolation Pilot Programme - Acceptance of Funding
Members considered a report of Councillor Joyce Plummer, Portfolio Holder for Resources, seeking formal approval to enter into relevant legal agreements to release funding in connection with the delivery of the Self Isolation Pilot Programme.
Councillor Plummer indicated that during the pandemic government funding had been used to good effect to achieve lasting benefits around health and wellbeing and supporting community groups. A bid for a Self-Isolation Pilot Programme had recently been successful and had secured around £54k. The programme would focus on young people through a combination of innovative projects and small grants available to third sector organisations. The programme would build upon some of the achievements of the Community Champions Fund work and would involve joint delivery by the Council, Hyndburn Leisure and Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).
Approval of the report was not deemed a key decision.
Reasons for Decision
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council was the lead authority in receipt of 2.5 million pounds of funding from the Department of Health and Social Care for the delivery of the Self-Isolation Pilot Programme. They were leading the Programme on behalf of the Upper Tier and District Authorities from whom proposals had been received for individual projects to support individuals through self-isolation resulting from COVID-19.
The Council had been invited to put a proposal forward for a Self-Isolation Pilot Programme in autumn 2021 and had recently been notified that the funding for this had been approved, subject to reaching a formal legal agreement to accept the funding, which outlined the Council’s obligations in respect of the project. The amount of funding which would be awarded to the Council was £54,540.
The Council’s proposal, which the funding would allow to be implemented, covered 3 main strands:
(i) Producing marketing assets aimed at young people around self-isolation: Current information regarding isolation was readily available but not engaging for young people or created with them in mind. To have an impact the authority had learnt engagement work was key, but better tools and resources could reach people in a way that counted. The Council would procure external support to create new assets, including using “gamification” methods to increase participation and engagement.
(ii) The delivery of an “Isolation Station extension” project via Hyndburn Leisure: This would allow people to engage in activities which created a more positive self-isolation experience, and would learn new ways to build activity and healthy eating into their lifestyle. Hyndburn Leisure would provide and promote free access to Hyndburn’s Mywellness App, providing on demand activity classes and bespoke exercise sessions.
(iii) Grant scheme via Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS: This scheme aimed to support voluntary and community sector organisations to expand or deliver new services to increase engagement with young people and people with a learning difficulty and to demonstrate their ability to react flexibly, at pace, to support the Hyndburn community. It would deliver £15,000 funding to be distributed via a grant scheme to voluntary and community sector organisations who would deliver activities to engage and support teenagers and young adults with positive lifestyle activities.
Alternative Options considered and Reasons for Rejection
The Council could choose not to accept the funding and not deliver the projects outlined above.
Resolved - That Cabinet grants approval to the Head of Policy and Organisational Development to sign the funding agreement with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in relation to the Self-Isolation Pilot Programme, and subsequently with Hyndburn Leisure and Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS.