HC Deb 03 May 2001 vol 367 cc727-30W
Gillian Merron

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will announce the areas that have been selected to participate in the first wave of the Children's Fund Local Network. [160358]

The Government are concerned to ensure that all groups have an equal opportunity to prepare for headship and have improved the way that data are collected. They have asked the National College for School Leadership to develop strategies to ensure that currently underrepresented groups increasingly apply for and progress through the NPQH.

Mr. Boateng

I am pleased to announce today the 17 areas that have been selected to receive funding from the first wave of the Children's Fund Local Network.

The Children's Fund was announced following the spending review 2000. The Fund is an important element of the Government's wider strategy to tackle child poverty and social exclusion. The Local Network element of the Children's Fund is making £70 million available over three years to fund the work of local community and voluntary groups helping vulnerable children aged 0–19.

The 17 areas across England, which have been included in the first wave of the Local Network, include those with the highest levels of need and were chosen to ensure a spread of support across all regions in England, including some rural and coastal areas. By April 2004 all areas across England will have access to the Fund. Each local fund will be administered by an experienced local voluntary sector grant maker.

The Local Network will help children in poverty achieve their potential by investing directly in the work of local community and voluntary groups that provide local solutions. Grants will be made under four themes: Aspirations and experiences—projects that give children experiences, or help them achieve goals that more privileged children may take for granted. Economic disadvantage—projects that help families to improve their living standards and cope with difficulties that come from being on low incomes. Isolation and access—projects that help children that are isolated or alone, or have trouble accessing services. Children's voices—projects that give children and young people the chance to express their opinions and give advice on matters that concern them.

Local Network funding will be available in the following areas: North-East Tees Valley (Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington) Tyne and Wear (Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland) North-West Merseyside/Halton (Knowsley, Sefton, Liverpool, St. Helens, Wirral, Halton) Greater Manchester (Manchester, Salford, Oldham, Rochdale, Bolton, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Bury, Stockport) Lancashire (Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn) Yorkshire and Humberside South Yorkshire (Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield) West Yorkshire (Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield, Leeds) Humberside (Kingston upon Hull, North-East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, East Riding) East Midlands Nottinghamshire (Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) Leicestershire (Leicester and Leicestershire) West Midlands Birmingham/Solihull (Birmingham and Solihull) The Black Country (Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley) East Norfolk South-West Cornwall (Cornwall with Isles of Scilly) South-East Kent (Medway, Kent) East Sussex (East Sussex and Brighton and Hove) London All London boroughs.