The new Community Roots Van will be visible throughout the district
Dover District Council staff can now travel out into the heart of our local communities thanks to a community project grant from Kent County Council’s ‘Helping Hands Scheme’.
The £173,000 grant will help to support Dover District Council’s community team in their resident engagement work, along with neighbouring local authorities. Part of the funding has financed a new bespoke vehicle.
The fully kitted out ‘Community Roots’ van enables DDC to offer access to council services ‘out on the road’ supporting its existing online, telephone and office-based access to council services and information.
Residents living in rural locations across the district will benefit from the additional service, and the van will also attend community events throughout the year.
The van also has an inbuilt CCTV capability linking up to the control room in Dover and so that it can be used for additional security measures at events.
The council is working together with partner agencies, including Kent Police, Kent County Council Community Wardens, Dover Pastors and Citizens Advice, offering a holistic approach for residents to get support and advice.
The van will have three computer workstations with online access to council systems. It will have solar panels and heating/air conditioning onboard, a fully functional kitchen, disability access and support awning with outside furniture for the summer months.
An annual calendar of events and activity is planned, and the van will be taken out on a few practice runs in January before officially starting its busy schedule from February onwards.
Cllr Oliver Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Community, said: “We are delighted to have received delivery of the new Community Roots van, which enables council officers to meet and engage with residents across the district. The van gives them a mobile base to work from and means that council staff can offer support to our communities in all weathers. Rural villages in particular will benefit from this facility, as residents can meet our team face to face without having to travel far.
“Themed events have also been scheduled covering relevant issues that affect us all such as mental health and wellbeing, access to foodbanks, money advice and keeping warm this winter.”
Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, said: “We are really pleased to fund this initiative through our Helping Hands Scheme that is supporting people living and working in East Kent in these challenging times.
This van has multiple benefits for residents, from supporting community safety initiatives by increasing surveillance to help to tackle crime, to delivering on our combined efforts in ending digital exclusion. In partnership with KCC’s Digital Kent team, we’re providing a space for residents to get connected and receive support.
In addition, the cost-of-living crisis means more people than ever before need help, advice and support. The ‘Community Roots’ van will bring the services that people need into the heart of communities, enabling families to engage with the local authority and partners, without having to pay travel costs to do so.”
Posted on 20 January 2023