New build homes deliver community benefits in North Lanarkshire
North Lanarkshire Council’s plans to deliver 5,000 new homes by 2035 are delivering local jobs for local people, providing training and employment opportunities for young people and funding a range of community groups and projects, councillors have heard.
Community benefits built into each of the council’s new house building contracts are delivered alongside the developer to improve the lives of local people and help communities thrive.
Under the scheme, 26 people secured employment and a further 21 embarked on skills and training since 2019. The council has increased opportunities for local business with the development of three supply chains and secured £9000 of financial support for community projects. A further eight community projects benefited from other help.
Despite the challenges of Covid, council projections forecast a further 30 people securing work; 96 people receiving targeted skills and training; an additional two supply chains established and 12 community projects to benefit financially, with a further six to benefit from other help, all by 2023.
Convener of housing and regeneration, Councillor Heather Brannan-McVey, said: “When we embark on the procurement process for our new build projects we’re committed to maximising the delivery of community benefits in our contract. We place particular emphasis on supporting key priority groups in our communities to help tackle inequality and to increase opportunity for all.
“We work with various stakeholders including the Community Partnership Team to deliver community benefits at grass root level, giving community groups input as to how and where the funds should be spent. We’ve seen young people train for a career in the building sector, while still at school, and move straight into employment; people out of work for some time re-train and secure jobs and new play equipment and resources delivered for local children.
“It’s a fantastic way for developers to support the local communities they build in; not just by providing new homes for the area but to feel part of the community and make a difference to the places where they build. I look forward to the roll out of more benefits, providing opportunity and resources for local people and businesses.”
Other benefits to have arisen due to the contracts include:
- Thornlie and St Thomas Primary Schools, Wishaw and Sacred Heart and Lawmuir Primary Schools, Bellshill, were provided funding of £1,100 each. The schools voted and agreed to spend their budget on playground and sports equipment and toys, all of which enhance the school learning and social experiences.
- The Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire Health Improvement Team worked with contractors to provide £1,000 community benefit support to their Christmas toy appeal. This supported many families and the team also donated to two primary schools in Motherwell.
- Contractors donated items including excess topsoil from the new build site at Holehills to fill planters for Balmalloch Primary School and, in Kilsyth, scrap timber was donated from the new build site at Roberts Street to Paws for Autism, to build kennels and food storage.
- Other community benefits from the Dimsdale Road development saw £24,000 provided for play area equipment at Waterloo; at Lismore Drive a £22,500 upgrade to a play area for Parents Action for Safe Play at Kirkshaws was delivered and at St Ambrose High, Coatbridge £16,500 enhanced local play equipment.
A Community Benefits Development group, set up to co-ordinate the benefits, continues to work with education, early careers, virtual schools, supported enterprise, the apprenticeship team and employability services, to maximise opportunities created through the new supply programme.