You may expect any group potentially in receipt of funds would be keen to get on and spend, but communities in Exeter are planning for the long term. As Exeter grows over the next ten years fifteen percent the moneys raised from the ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ are being set aside to benefit communities, especially in areas where development is taking place. Cllr Paul Bull, Members Champion for Community Engagement said: “Communities will change significantly as Exeter grows, and we recognize that local communities are best placed to identify what their community needs. Exeter City Council is right behind their efforts to shape their future and decide how the funds can benefit them.”
Community Associations and Fora from across the City have come together with the support of Exeter City Council to establish the Exeter Community Forum. The Forum has decided to work on a ‘Community Strategy’ – a plan to support community development across the City. Christine Fraser from St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership and one of Exeter Community Forum’s Co-Chairs said, “The first task of this community-led initiative, working in tandem with the City Council, is the appointment of a facilitator to help us draft a community development plan. This isn’t as dry as it sounds! It’s a significant piece of work which identify the needs and priorities in our neighbourhoods.”
Diana Moore, of the Alphington Village Forum and the other Co-Chair of the new Forum, said: “We’re pleased the Council recognises the increasing and important role that communities have in shaping planning decisions, delivering local services, supporting their neighbours, working with young people, organizing events, running community buildings and facilities such as parks and allotments. Community effort makes a real difference to the City and we’re planning to make the most of this £3.7million investment in community development over the next ten years!