Following its introduction in March this year, Westminster Conservatives confirmed earlier this week that its community contribution fund has raised almost £400,000. The funds raised by the Conservative-led Council’s scheme, which involved giving Band H Council Tax payers the opportunity to voluntarily pay an extra element to Westminster City Council on top of their Council Tax, will now be spent on tackling rough sleeping, isolation between generations and supporting young people across the City. These priorities were in part chosen by those who contributed.
Alongside confirming the success of the scheme, the Council also published a breakdown of how the extra funds raised will be spent;
- £60,000 towards employing two Westminster ‘buddies’*
- £70,000 available in grants** to organisations who support rough sleepers
- £130,000 for schemes*** that provide young people with employment skills or training
- £130,000 to go towards initiatives that combat isolation across our City amongst people of any age.
Commenting on the scheme, Westminster Conservatives Leader Cllr Nickie Aiken said, “Not everyone thought that the scheme would be successful. Some cynics said it would fail.
“The hundreds of thousands of pounds which we have allocated this week is irrefutable evidence that the scheme has been a success. I think that asking contributors what they thought that their contributions should be spent on has been key to this success. What began life as a bold idea based on our gut instinct has turned into a scheme delivering a positive outcome for our City.”
Following the schemes success, the Conservative-led administration is keen to see it grow. Over the next week, just over 15,000 letters are being sent to those Band H householders who did not respond to an initial letter this year. The letter, outlining how the community contribution scheme works, will hopefully encourage more people to take part.
On sending out these letter Cllr Aiken added, “A lot of band H householders may not have contributed as they were unconvinced about the scheme’s viability and uncertain how it would work. We are writing to them about our success saying, outlining exactly how the scheme work, as we think that more people may wish to take part.”
* Westminster Buddies are former rough sleepers themselves. They help support people on the streets who may be distrustful of mainstream authority
** Interested organisations and providers will be invited to apply for up to £10,000
*** Applicants will be invited to bid for up to £30,000.