A micro-grant scheme designed to support community organisations has been backed by Lichfield District Council’s cabinet.
The scheme will see £300 given to each member of the local authority to distribute in order to help groups within their ward.
A report from Cllr Ashley Yeates to the meeting said the money would allow councillors to support groups who may not be eligible for other types of funding.
Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, said the grants would help members to have a “tangible impact” on their communities.
“I fully welcome the principal of micro-grants – they’re tried and tested.
“One measure of how successful we are is how many formal meetings we attend. I don’t have any issue with that, but I think another measure ought to be how closely connected we are to our communities and the wards we represent.
“This will allow those councillors who really are closely connected to make a tangible impact.”Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council
The scheme will be a pilot over two years and echoes a larger scheme run by Staffordshire County Council.
But some concerns were raised by cabinet members over the plan for the district council scheme to see payment of the £300 made directly into the bank accounts of councillors for them to distribute.
Cllr Andy Smith said:
“It’s a great concept and I really encourage it – I’d like to think in future years we can increase it as well.
“We’re trying to streamline this and I get that. If we’re paying the £300 into each member’s bank account to be able to distribute as they see fit, what are the checks and balances to ensure it has been spent and spent on the correct things?”Cllr Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Yeates said training and proof of where the money has spent would be needed.
“At the end of each year each member will send list and proof of where they’ve used the funding.
“We’re also going to be conducting training to explain where they can and can’t use this funding.
“Also, this comes under the code of conduct – if they step outside they’ll lose their position as a councillor.”Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council