Fundraising bid to employ community development worker for Cranbrook dashed

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 October 2018

A fundraising bid to bring a new community development worker to Cranbrook has been dashed. Pictured inset: Keith Johnson, Cranbrook's last incumbent.

A fundraising bid to bring a new community development worker to Cranbrook has been dashed. Pictured inset: Keith Johnson, Cranbrook's last incumbent.

Archant

A community development worker for Cranbrook is to be hosted by the town council – but funding will be sought elsewhere.

At a meeting on Monday, it was revealed that a £60,000 request to employ a community development worker for Cranbrook had failed.

Andy Wood, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point projects director, made an internal funding bid, to East Devon District Council (EDDC), for £20,000 per annum over three years – but it was turned down.

The request was for part-funding, on the basis that extra financial backing would be enlisted elsewhere, but Mr Wood said it was refused by EDDC due to budgetary reasons.

He added: “The funding was unsuccessful – but it feels to me that we still need to be going and finding a way forward.”

The bid was crafted by members at EDDC, Cranbrook Town Council (CTC), Devon County Council and other parties.

Cranbrook has had two community development workers since its inception – the last being Keith Johnson, whose contract expired in March this year.

The role of community development worker was funded by section 106 money – a private agreement.

Work has been carried out to explore how the role would be reinstated with partnership funding from different agencies, as Cranbrook will be independent of section 106 funding in the future.

Councillor Ray Bloxham said he was concerned that CTC would not be able to pay for the community development worker.

He added: “We have the third phase of the country park coming next year, playparks, drainage – and other things we have to be responsible for.

“Regarding our funding position, we can not afford the staff we need to support this basic function.

“While we would love to take on a community development worker, I do not think we would be able to afford to pay for them for three years.

“For me, it sits well within the town council and I would be happy if it did become hosted by us – what I have a problem with is paying for it.”

Councillors agreed that they would host the town’s next community development worker, but would not fund the venture because CTC could not afford it.

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