The Big Lottery Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) have today announced Andover as one of 20 places in England taking part in the Place Based Social Action programme which launched last October.
The Placed Based Social Action programme aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area.
It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.
In Test Valley, 22% of the population are under 17 years old, which is higher than the national average. Responding to this, Unity (formerly Test Valley Community Services) will work with local people to develop a social action plan which aims to make the town a place where young people enjoy living and want to put down roots.
The plan will look at how social action could be used to support the creation of a community hub in Andover town centre. The idea behind the centre will be to encourage young people to meet together, volunteer and get involved in community life.
The project will happen under the banner of the Andover Vision and will bring together local Andover residents, businesses and voluntary groups.
Terry Bishop, Chief Executive of Unity said: "Unity is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Place Based Social Action programme and lead this community consultation. This opportunity will engage the wider community through the Andover Vision strategic partnership and will be a positive step for Andover. To empower the community in this way is exciting and will result in an even more vibrant community in this lovely market town."
Between now and December 2018, the 20 partnerships taking part in the first stage of the programme will work with Locality, the national network for community organisations, to design their local social action plan.
In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking page in this first stage will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "This programme is about supporting communities to work together to tackle the social issues that matter in their area. It is designed to ensure solutions are created by local people for local people and we're looking forward to seeing how these plans develop over the next year."
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sports and Civil Society, said: "Communities lie at the heart of our commitment to build a society that works for everyone. This investment, bolstered by partnerships, will create positive change as people work together to develop solutions to overcome local issues in their area."
Place Based Social Action will run until 2025 and is administered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with DCMS.