Cash boost for Fareham Park to tackle deprivation

Fareham Borough Council is investing �20,000 in the Fareham area. The Highlands Hub in Highlands Road, Fareham will be one of the groups that will benefit.''Pictured is: Volunteer Corinne McCluskey and Jim Palmer, chairman of The Highlands Hub management committee inside the cafe.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1378-1522)
Fareham Borough Council is investing �20,000 in the Fareham area. The Highlands Hub in Highlands Road, Fareham will be one of the groups that will benefit.''Pictured is: Volunteer Corinne McCluskey and Jim Palmer, chairman of The Highlands Hub management committee inside the cafe.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1378-1522)
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A CASH boost will address deprivation in Fareham Park, councillors hope.

Fareham Borough Council has decided to invest £20,000 in the area and appoint a dedicated project officer to help community groups apply for additional grants.

In 2008, Fareham Park was ranked in the top three per cent of the most deprived areas in the UK.

It was also found to have a higher then average number of work benefit claimants and a lower than average level of education.

This new money will go towards the Fareham Park Project and will fund initiatives to improve skills with the goal of reducing deprivation in the area.

A project officer will be appointed for three years to support community groups in the area, at a cost of around £30,000 per year.

The post will be funded from the council’s community fund, which has consistently under spent over the past three years.

Executive Member for Leisure and Community, Councillor Connie Hockley, said: ‘The people of Fareham Park are the salt of the Earth. You’ve got to give them hope, skills and education.

‘They would like more for their children but they don’t know how to go about it.

‘We need to get serious and get this project off the ground.’

Previous initiatives in the area include Community Chatters which offers free drop-in advice and the Highlands Hub.

The Highlands Hub is a centre and cafe on Highlands Road which provides a space for community groups to meet and allows people access to computers and the internet.

Chairman of the Highlands Hub management committee, Jim Palmer, said: ‘This is really good news.

‘At the moment there are a lot of different organisations which don’t talk to each other very much.’

He added: ‘I’m looking forward to the assistance that the project officer will be able to provide.’

Ward councillor Peter Davies said he would like to see some of the money invested in local youth services.

Cllr Davies said: ‘The council identified this area as a corporate priority back in 2009 and I am pleased to see things starting to move forward.’

Leader of the council Sean Woodward said: ‘The deprivation figures were quite frightening.

‘That’s why I made Fareham Park one of the council’s top priorities.’