The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 Belfast City Council is invited to administer the Department for Communities’ (DfC) Access and Inclusion Programme 2020/21 on behalf of Belfast based arts, cultural and active recreation venues. This Programme supports small-scale capital investments of up to £30,000 and aims to improve access to arts and cultural activities and active recreation facilities, by people with disabilities. Council departments can also apply to this Programme.
2.1 The Committee is requested to:
· Agree to Council’s role in promoting, assessing and managing DfC’s Access and Inclusion Programme 2020/21 and supporting organisations and Council departments to access the funding.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Department for Communities are inviting all local councils to administer their Access and Inclusion Programme 2020/21 within their respective local council areas.
The Council managed the 18/19 and 19/20 Access and Inclusion Programme within Belfast and received support for 24 projects with total value of £412,554, of which five were Council projects. These have included improved access to City Hall and the Tropical Ravine, and specialised playground facilities.
DfC will formally launch the programme as a competitive process on 3 August 2020 with a closing date of Friday 11th September 2020.
3.2 The Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme aims to:
i. Improve access to arts, culture and active recreation venues across NI for people with disabilities;
ii. Make arts, cultural and active recreation venues more inclusive across society;
iii. Increase participation in arts, culture and active recreation activities by people with disabilities.
3.3 Council owned venues and facilities are eligible to apply for support as well as relevant independent organisations. The Council oversees the assessment and recommendation of projects via an open call, and is responsible for delivery of all projects in receipt of funding.
Active recreation projects can include public walkways, cycle paths, forest trails, children’s playparks and similar outdoor recreation sites. The programme is not designed to support the development of sports grounds, but where sports grounds can demonstrate that an application to develop infrastructure is aimed at increasing participation in active recreation by people with a disability, it may be considered.
3.4 Capital works and equipment costs are eligible under this programme but funding will not be provided to part fund larger projects. Applicants must confirm that projects will complete on or before 31 March 2021.
3.5 Financial and Resource Implications
Council funding is not a requirement this year but DfC has indicated that a contribution from Council will be required in order to participate in the Programme in future years.
TCHA unit have experienced staff resources available to oversee this Programme.
3.6 Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
TCHA will work closely with the Council’s Equality Unit and DfC to ensure positive equality implications which is the central component of the Programme.
There are no rural needs or good relations implications.”
The Committee agreed to the Council’s role in promoting, assessing and managing the Department for Communities Access and Inclusion Programme 2020/21, and supporting organisations and Council departments to access the funding. Following a suggestion from a Member, it also noted that the Council’s Disability Advisory Panel would be included in the consultation process.