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Kirklees Council asks public for ideas to build "community spirit"

Clr Andrew Cooper, Leader of the Green Group on Kirklees Council

All 23 of the borough’s wards will receive a budget of £50,000 to invest in local communities.

Communities in Kirklees being asked to come forward with ideas to build a sense of community spirit and resilience.

The call comes as councillors across the borough are to each receive a share of more than £600,000 of extra funding after the council released cash to help support the vulnerable.

The cash has been welcomed as a way of boosting morale during the coronavirus crisis.

Kirklees Council is making the money available to help people deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

All 23 of the borough’s wards will receive a budget of £50,000 – more than the usual £20,000 – to invest in local communities.

That means in total they will get an extra £690,000.

Kirklees’ 69 councillors were informed by email on Tuesday that the funding would be added to the budgets that they control for activity in the wards they represent.

Council Leader Clr Shabir Pandor said local councillors had “a vital role to play” in supporting residents through the current difficult period.

He added: “Our insight as councillors will be crucial in ensuring we are targeting the right resources in the right places.

“That’s why we’ve made the decision to make more money available at a local level because what’s needed in one area might not be the same in another.”

Across the district Kirklees’ 69 councillors represent communities as diverse as Batley in the north to Marsden in the south.

The extra cash will help elected members use their local knowledge to make sure the resources needed in their specific area are available.

Councillors will work to make sure they are delivered as a priority.

One of the first to welcome the budget boost was Kirklees Green Party Leader and Newsome ward councillor Andrew Cooper.

“This funding at this most difficult of time is very welcome,” he said.

“What Newsome councillors want to do is get people to give us their ideas.

“The sort of ideas we are looking for are things that help morale in the community, provide support to vulnerable people in the community and ensure that we come out of the crisis with local businesses intact.

“The funding is not limitless but I’m keen to harness the power of the community to help us through this public health emergency.

“I and my Newsome ward colleagues have been impressed by the willingness of people to help their neighbours in this most unprecedented of circumstances.

“These are the people who can see the needs that may not be being met and the things that may make life a little better. ”

Clr Pandor said the authority supported the Government’s stay at home measures and reiterated his appeal for people not to leave their homes unless  “you absolutely have to for one of the official reasons”.

He added: “The community spirit we are already seeing is truly inspiring with local people volunteering their time to help others.

“We will continue to do what we do best – work together and help those that need us most.”

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