Residents' Survey results and representations
Funding for KDBH Community Projects 2022 - 2023
Update 22 March 2023
A huge thank you to everyone who voted for, and commented on, this year’s potential community projects. From our Residents’ Survey, we have created two documents showing a) the results by project ranking; and b) comments posted by residents. Your comments are always invaluable. They shape the Forum’s thinking and will feed into discussions with the Council as we continue to improve the NCIL process to maximise benefit to our KDBH community.
We have provided the results to the Council to feed into their decision making process. It is important to emphasise that the Council makes the final assessment, applying a wide range of robust qualification criteria, with residents’ votes being just one input.
In Knowle there are sufficient funds available for the projects submitted. In Dorridge and Bentley Heath, however, bids exceed available funding, so unfortunately not all projects will be successful this year in being awarded NCIL monies.
At their recent meeting, the Solihull Council Scrutiny Board Meeting recommended 13 out of 21 submitted projects across the Borough go forward for approval at the Decision Board meeting on 27 March. This includes the following KDBH projects:
Dorridge Cricket Club: Development of second pitch at the main ground and accompanying new pavilion with changing facilities
Dorridge Scout Hut: Roof modification and replacement
Knowle & Dorridge Cricket Club: Clubhouse redevelopment project
KDBH Neighbourhood Forum: Community Engagement & Social Infrastructure Building
Northern Gateway to Knowle: landscape & public realm improvements
We will keep you posted on the final outcome following the Decision Board meeting.
24 February 2023
One of our favourite times of year is here once again, when we as a community have a fantastic opportunity to decide on proposals to improve community facilities in our Area. How this scheme (called NCIL) works is explained here.
There are some important differences in this year's process - full details in our recent Community Projects Newsletter that provides full details of the background and explanation to inform your voting choices.
The Forum itself is bidding this year, with full support from Ward Councillors, resident associations and attendees at our last Public Open meeting. A new source of funding is urgently required if the Forum is to continue to exist and be properly equipped to serve our community. From recent discussions across a wide range of local stakeholders, it has become clear that there is support for us to extend our capabilities, become more visible and provide a Neighbourhood Forum for residents to inter-actively engage and make their views heard across a wider range of issues affecting us as a community. We give examples of what this could include - driven as always by resident needs and priorities - in our newsletter and bid below.
The Forum continues to operate on an entirely voluntary basis. To step up to this wider role, however, requires commitment to a base level of funding to run our operation, much of which relating to external costs - eg. publicity, public engagement, developing inter-active communication using a wide range of on-line and traditional methods to reach out to our very large KDBH Area of c. 20,000 people. Full details are in our bid proposal.
Following extensive discussions on funding with the Council, we have agreed that, at least for this year, we should seek funding for the Forum though NCIL. The Forum has thus submitted a bid for £5,000 from each of the two Ward pots in our KDBH Area - this represents less that a quarter of the £43,000 additional NCIL funding that the KDBH Area has benefited from this year by having an approved Neighbourhood Plan, developed by the Forum. We seek support from, and have confidence in, our Forum members to register a vote in favour of funding the Forum and very much look forward to progressing, in consultation with residents, new plans and initiatives once results are confirmed at the end of March.
This Year's Bid Assessment
The Council has now provided us with copies of all the KDBH bids they have received. There are 8 proposals in all: 6 from Dorridge and Bentley Heath totalling £125,931 (£88,124 available); and 2 from Knowle totalling £14,960 (£19,576 available).
Bids in Dorridge and Bentley Heath therefore exceed available funds due a number of unexpected last minute submissions.
To ensure transparency and impartiality, as the Forum is bidding this year we will not be undertaking our normal review and assessment of each of the projects submitted as an input into the Council's evaluation process. Nevertheless, we remain firmly of the view that Council decisions on funding of community projects should take full account of residents' views. This places extra importance this year on your involvement in our community voting process. We will analyse the voting feedback and send the results to the Council to provide an objective and evidential basis for their decision making.
The Forum works to support and guide anyone planning to submit a proposal in order to help achieve the best community outcome from the funding available. Recognising this, the Council has committed to encouraging bidders to discuss proposals with the Forum. This has worked well for a number of this year's projects. There were, however, four last minute submissions to the Council that we became aware of only after the closing date. For these four bids - Visit Knowle; DDRA; Bentley Heath Allotments; SMBC - we have not therefore been able to assist in assuring that they meet the robust NCIL/Council bid qualification criteria.
In particular, we highlight the SMBC bid to make you aware that we will be contacting those undertaking bid evaluation with comments below:
'We're sure most residents would welcome work on the Dorridge playground equipment. We note, however, that the submission as it currently stands appears to be lacking several key aspects relevant to NCIL:
it seems that the bid relates to maintenance/replacement of existing equipment, not to extension or development of play facilities.* Our understanding is that community NCIL funding is not intended for maintenance purposes (an on-going Council responsibility), but to enhance and adapt facilities to meet the demands arising from new development
there are no details as to what will actually be provided from the funding requested; and no indication of managed prior consultation with residents that what is proposed reflects their views, needs and priorities
the proposal refers to tendering for the work. The NCIL bid assessment process requires costed proposals
* By contrast, the Knowle playground NCIL-funded proposal, led by a very proactive community group, improved and extended Knowle playground facilities as the first stage in a longer term plan for developing the facility.
After last year's issues - when unexpected Council-initiated bids would have taken KDBH's total NCIL pot to the exclusion of other, community led submissions - the Council committed to ensuring that Council staff engage early with the Forum on any future bids. We are disappointed that circumstances this year mean that this has not happened, but emphasise the need to re-communicate and re-inforce this principle going forward.'
Registering Your Vote
Application details on all bids can be accessed via the links below. Having made your choices, click on the 'Register my vote' button to take you to a simple 'voting slip' where you can quickly and easily register your preferred bid(s).
We will need to close voting by 5pm on Saturday 4 March
to enable us to analyse the results and get them back to the Council. They will, of course, also be posted on our website.