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    17 June, 2008

    Communities First

    I outlined the plans for the future of the Communities First programme today in the Assembly.

    Included in the plans is a new Outcomes Fund to boost community regeneration in some of the most deprived areas of Wales, worth at least £25 million over the next three years.

    The Outcomes Fund is the centrepiece of our plans for the next phase of Communities First. Communities First partnerships will be able to bid for the funding but will need to demonstrate that their proposals will help deliver key Communities First priorities. They will also need to show that they are working in partnership with local public bodies and have engaged with local people in planning local services.

    Plans for the next phase of Communities First will give the programme a sharper focus on stimulating practical improvements to tackle poverty, contribute to wider regeneration initiatives and improving employability. They follow an extensive consultation process earlier in the year. The programme will continue to be called Communities First with some new initiatives called Communities First plus. It will also contain new measures to intervene in partnerships that are struggling to make an impact locally.

    A higher proportion of the overall budget will be spent in Communities First areas.

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