Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Plas Madoc update: Communities First bosses suspended

Today's Daily Post has news of developments in the Plas Madoc investigation. I was due to meet Communities First representatives on Friday on the estate but learned today that the meeting had been cancelled.

The scheme’s co-ordinator Miriam Beard and the finance and monitoring officer Andy Bunning have been suspended while auditors scrutinise the books.
It follows allegations about the way the scheme, which has received millions of pounds funding to regenerate the local area, was being managed.

Yesterday Plas Madoc Councillor Paul Blackwell, who sits on the PMCF board said the scheme was fully co-operating with the investigation.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: “The Welsh Assembly Government and Wales Audit Office are working together to investigate concerns raised about governance arrangements within the Plas Madoc Communities First Partnership.

“As a result of preliminary findings two members of staff employed by the Plas Madoc Communities First Partnership have been suspended, pending further investigation.

“The Assembly Government is continuing to work with the Communities First Partnership in Plas Madoc to ensure that its projects and activities in the local community are able to continue while further investigations continue.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further until the investigation has been completed.”

Coun Blackwell said: “There is full co-operation with the investigation and at the moment there is no evidence of any wrong doing.”

PMCF was formed in 2003 as a limited company and a registered charity.

Its purpose is to regenerate Plas Madoc, which is one of the most deprived wards in Wales.

The community has major problems with access to services such as GPs and dentists, education standards local employment opportunities, and support for childcare.

PMCF funnels funds into proactive schemes to give the local community a much needed boost.

Since 2003 PMCF has co-ordinated a range of beneficial projects to support the area including £125,000 to give play areas a facelift, taking children on life changing trips to Gambia, and organising local environmental action schemes to clean up the area.

Concerns were raised earlier this year there were problems with the way it was being run, with Mandy Bostwick, a psychotherapist and community councillor for Coedpoeth inWrexham, going on the record voicing her worries.

But the claims were denied by PMCF bosses who insisted they would be vindicated after the investigations had concluded.

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