Rye Partnership was rocked by a double bombshell when Rother District Council’s Regeneration Officer Mark Evershed suddenly resigned at the end of November. “Personal reasons” was the explanation given by Rother Council Leader am Souster.
Mr. Evershed was a key figure at the Rye Partnership and an emergency meeting was called at the Rye Offices which resulted in his being reinstated as a consultant to help with enterprises he was involved with, including the new library, the fishing quay project and European funding for local activities.
Mr. Evershed will be working from home and Sam Souster is ‘holding the fort’ at the Cinque Ports Street offices.
The second piece of bad news came when Rye Town Councillor Peter Dyce called for a full report into the state of affairs at Rye Partnership and the arrangements of its senior officers. This report came at the meeting of Rye Council on Monday 15 December when the Council representatives on the Partnership were all available to answer questions.
A barrage of probing questions put by Councillor Dyce and Mayor Paul Carey were answered by Councillor Lyus and Councillor Osborne to the satisfaction of the Council as a whole and a motion to accept their report was passed.
The episode seems to have done some good in that it has cleared the air. The Partnership has had many knockers, mainly because it is a non elected body dispensing government money. The report made it abundantly clear that everything is being accounted for, in fact, it seems that every penny spent has to be notified to a vast array of accountants in several different bodies.
The Rye Partnership, along with all the countless other partnerships up and down the country are the brainchild of the government. They use them as a means of distributing funds around the land, its quite a clever system really, it means that because of the red tape and form filling the cash is in the pipeline for long periods of time so everyone is on a promise and the money stays in the government’s coffers for much longer. News of a £200,000 grant may come one year but delivery can take another two.
The easiest way to dispense the money would be to give an equal amount per head of the population to every Council and let the elected body decide where it should be spent. This is too simple of course and would mean the money would go out of the coffers too quickly. It would cut out millions of pieces of paper though and save a great deal of trees.
Rye must be thankful that her own partnership has proved successful in acquiring grants for so many local enterprises.
Rye Partnership has, over the past 5 years,
Acquired offices at 25 Cinque Ports Street for its Headquarters.
Produced the Rye Town Guide Supported the appointment of the Rye Town Manager.
Set up the Animate Youth Centre Provided Mentoring and Student support
Been involved with the Health & Community Project.
Offers a Mediation Service.
Purchased the Rye Harbour Shop and found tenants for it and for the two flats above.
Made improvements, including tiered seating, at the Community Arts Centre.
Helped implement the Shop and Student Watch schemes.
Helped with the Safe Sands Camber scheme.
Found funding for 130 computers at the Rye Schools.
Achieved Literacy / Numeracy improvements at the Thomas Peacocke.
Progressed projects via the Early Learning Excellence Centre.
Funded After School Childcare at the Freda Gardham.
Arranged Tourism Courses for Nine Students.
Upgraded Rye Fish Market by purchasing the assets of Duncan Grant Ltd. and improving facilities for Modern Library, Adult Education Centre, Offices.
Has purchased the old Central Garage site for development into a Modern Library, Adult Education Centre, Offices for Rother Homes, A ‘One Stop Shop’ for public sector services and space for flats or further office accommodation. This project is now under way with a completion date planned for March 2005.
Has upgraded the Rye Tourism Information Centre with an extension and major refit.
Provided information panels in car parks.
Found funding for Rye Bonfire Society
Found Funding for Rye Medieval Society
Provided Funding for The Rye Festival.
All this in five years. There have been mistakes and opposition along the way. Perhaps now would be a good time to forge much closer links with Rye Town Council, allowing the elected body of Rye to have a share in the power that so much funding automatically brings with it.
“Rye’s Own” January 2004
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