This is an archived press release
Wednesday 8 December 2004
8 December 2004
Peak Park pioneers new community partnership
The Peak District National Park Authority is pioneering a new form of community engagement by linking up with other authorities to turn residents' action plans into reality.
The Authority is using part of its £250,000 Capacity Building Fund grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to respond to residents' needs in two pilot schemes.
Starting in the Spring, one pilot scheme, in the Hope Valley, will involve the Authority with Derbyshire Dales and High Peak councils in village meetings and surveys to help residents draw up priorities for improvement, then working in partnership to make them a reality.
This could cover a host of projects from better playgrounds to public transport, recreational facilities, footpaths or housing.
The second, with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, is likely to focus on improving services for young people: finding out what they want and working with them to achieve it, whether it be more affordable housing, activities or training opportunities.
The project will be a trailblazer in combining a national park authority with local councils on community enhancement plans.
The Peak District is the first national park authority in the country to be awarded a Capacity Building Fund grant, and the first authority to receive one in Derbyshire.
The aim is for the Authority to respond better to communities' concerns, such as those raised in a series of village meetings held all over the National Park this summer.
The nationwide £32m Capacity Building Fund is a new resource to give local authorities a springboard for improvement-action - especially those with a commitment to change and improve services to the public, as in the Peak District National Park Authority.
The grant will also enable the Authority to upgrade its own leadership skills, one of the top priorities in its latest Best Value Performance Plan. Starting in the Spring, a major management training programme will come into force for the Authority's managers, and also for leading members.
Staff will be rewarded for widening their skills, being innovative and aiming high, helping nurture the leaders and managers of the future. A full-time project manager will be appointed to steer the action plan forward, both within the Authority and with its partners.
Chief executive Jim Dixon is enthusiastic about what can be achieved: "This is all about promoting change and becoming a better organisation," he said.
"We are a forward-looking authority, and here we have the chance to work with some of the best mainstream local authorities in the country in an innovative, more cost-effective way.
"We can learn from local government, and local government can help to achieve the aims of the National Park - it's a completely new combination, and one which I hope will be beneficial not just for the organisations but for the people of the Peak District."