Harrow Council for Justice
a campaigning national organisation - promoting the principle of 'different but equal'

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Community grants in Harrow setting

 

There is a need to contextualise the Harrow Council’s themes and outcomes and the maximum grant award available.

In early 1980s, equal opportunities and community consultation were alien concepts for the council which  under the leadership of a Hatch End Councillor, was much behind in providing services which meet the needs and aspirations of different but equally important groups of residents in the borough.

The extensive argument and persuasion by the community leaders at the time, including many who later formed the Harrow Council for Justice, forced the council to revisit the criteria of its services. However, because of its lack of the capacity and political responsibility to make appropriate choices and make the services compatible with the local needs, the council cleverly tempted the voluntary community groups to support their communities through some financial help from the council. Thus, the use of the community grants to fill in the gaps in the service provision due to the council’s policies and practices based on dominant norms.

These arrangements  where the voluntary sector not only does what the council ought to be doing but is obliged to do it according to the council’s dictates, have persisted in one form or the other over the years with varied outcomes.

Many years on, nothing has really changed in that the community has been left to deal with the effects of the council’s inadequacies. For example, £75,000 might be granted for ‘supporting and protecting people who are most in need’ i.e. the sociocultural, financial, housing and care needs which could well are the result of the council’s less relevant policies and practices.

A similar grant is available to promote another theme  - ‘united and involved communities’ - though the level or allocation of the community resources as well as the short-sighted community development practices might be causing the communal tension and resulting in less conducive atmosphere for different groups of people to become involved.

   

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