The Minister said that the first of the new groups of areas, known as Clusters, represented nearly a quarter of the programme and would receive just over £19 million up to March 2015.
The first 12 Clusters include four in Caerphilly, four in Cardiff, one in Gwynedd, one in the Vale of Glamorgan and two Clusters in Flintshire.
The aim of the new programme is to create a community focussed Tackling Poverty Programme that aims to support the most vulnerable people in our most deprived areas.
The Minister said that the announcement gives real substance to the programme. He said:
“Each of the new Clusters has a delivery plan that shows how the programme in that area will contribute to improved outcomes in relation to health, education and the economy.”
“Overall, the programme will make a key contribution to the Welsh Government's Tackling Poverty Action Plan. Every application has been carefully assessed to ensure that the highest possible proportion of the budget can be used to deliver projects in local communities rather than being spent on administrative costs.
“Community involvement will remain central to the programme. We want to see more local people becoming actively involved in Communities First and so each Cluster has developed a Community Involvement Plan to ensure that this happens. It is essential that the community continues to be engaged and empowered under the programme.”
The changes being made to the Communities First programme follow a major consultation in 2011 and have received strong support from many organisations that will be affected by the changes. They also take into account the recommendations of the Wales Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee reports published in 2009 and 2010.
The Minister added that there is a robust new monitoring framework for the programme. He said:
“We will be gathering and making public key information about the work and achievements of the Clusters and the programme as a whole.”
Overall there will be 52 areas that are eligible for inclusion in the new programme. Further announcements about other Clusters will follow over the coming weeks with the expectation that the new programme will be substantially in place early in 2013.