Calls for cash to be spent in Blackpool’s inner wards

Councillors representing one of Blackpool’s most deprived areas have called for more funding from a £45m Lottery project to be spent there.


Talbot ward councillors Mark Smith and Jane Hugo fear the neighbourhood has missed out on support from the Blackpool Better Start initative which was originally aimed at targetting the poorest parts of the town.

Report warns Lottery project to focus on Blackpool’s most deprived areas

They spoke out as the council’s executive committee approved a scrutiny report into Better Start.

A Town Hall scrutiny report has been carried out into the Blackpool Better Start projectA Town Hall scrutiny report has been carried out into the Blackpool Better Start project

Analysis of data between April 2015 and September 2020, as part of the scrutiny, had revealed 57 per cent of residents accessing Better Start services lived in non-Better Start wards.

Coun Smith said: “Talbot ward has had a very low uptake of this support and funding, with only 29 children attending a Better Start park ranger event compared to 606 children in non-Better Start wards.

“I feel there needs to be a more targetted approach going forward and better communication.

“Being a ward councillor it’s very disappointing to know residents I represent in what is one of the most deprived wards in the whole country are not being targetted adequately with funding which has been received.”

Coun Hugo said: “We have five years left of Better Start funding and having identified this, hopefully measures will be put in place to make sure all the wards it is meant to support get a bit more attention going forward.”

Funding was due to be targetted in the seven wards of Bloomfield, Brunswick, Claremont, Clifton, Park, Talbot and Victoria where families are in most need.

Merle Davies, Director of the Blackpool Centre for Early Child Development which oversees Better Start, previously said participation in outdoor projects in Talbot ward had been low up until now because investment in parks had been more recent.

Investment had been made over a five year period, with the investment into the play zone in Talbot ward only being completed during lockdown last year, so there was lower take up from residents in that ward.