ALLOCATED cash for ward alliances across Barnsley has resulted in thousands of pounds – earmarked for community groups and local causes – being carried forward due to significant underspending.
Barnsley’s six area councils – Central, Dearne, North, North East, Penistone and South – share 21 wards across the town, each of which are given a £10,000 minimum allocation per year.
Area councils have the option to provide more cash but it is discretionary and councillors may also choose not to offer up further funding on top of the base allowance.
Council documents revealed the majority of the 21 have so-called carry-forward cash – owing to unspent funds from the previous financial year – with the Central Ward Alliance carrying £10,718 into the next year, meaning its overall budget stands at £20,718.
It is a similar picture across the borough, with Old Town bringing forward £8,664 and Darton West posting £6,011 of unspent cash.
A Barnsley Council spokesperson said: “Ward alliance funding varies across areas and may seem underspent because of factors such as delays in decision-making caused by changes in alliance membership, rather than a lack of applications.
“There are six area councils in Barnsley, each made up of the locally-elected councillors who support ward alliances.
“They use information that locals tell them about to help them set the priorities for your area.
“Half of the funding requires a match-funding element of volunteer time that directly relates to the project in question, or other match-funding resources such as free room hire or donations of goods and equipment.
“Half can be used for initiatives that have no volunteer element, such as the purchase and installation of benches, hanging baskets or other street furniture.
“The carry-forward of remaining balances will be combined and added to the new location, to be managed as a single budget with the above conditions.
“If anyone is interested in being a part of their local ward alliance, they can find further details about this as well as their area councils on our website.”