The end of Communities First funding will be devastating for some of the poorest areas in Wrexham.

Cllr Brian Cameron said the phasing out of the programme will hit families in Caia Park and Hightown extremely hard.

Communities First was the flagship community regeneration programme of the Welsh Government and since 2001 has been active in a number of communities in Wrexham that are within the top 30 per cent most deprived in Wales as described by the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Cllr Cameron said whether it was Westminster or Cardiff who were responsible for the end of the funding, Wrexham Council needed to do something about it or it could cause major problems.

A report before the scrutiny committee examined the impact the end of the programme will have, with fears raised of increased crime, anti-social behaviour, homelessness and unemployment all mooted as possibilities.

“The report goes a long way to highlighting the impact losing Communities First will have and it makes very depressing reading,” Cllr Cameron said.

“We must all be concerned about the huge risk for the future. The knock-on effect for outside agencies including schools, police and social services is likely to be very severe at a time when they are all struggling.”

Cllr Cameron said the cuts would likely mean valued community services like The Venture or Gwenfro Valley would close unless the funding could be replaced.

He added: “The effect on the communities of Caia Park and Hightown will be devastating – they attract more than 2,000 children and 500 families between them.

“If the worst happens and several organisations are forced to close, has there been any analysis of what the cost to the council would be in the medium to long term?

“Regardless of who is to blame, we need to do something about it because Wrexham has a major problem on its hands.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Mark Pritchard, said the authority would have £237,000 in legacy funding for each of the two years after the programme ceases.

He added there had not been any guidance from Welsh Government as to how the cash should be spent but that it was not enough to sustain the programmes funded by Community First in the long term.

Wrexham Council did not have the cash to subsidise the services going forward, Cllr Pritchard said.

“I think I have made it clear from the start that we have to be honest to the people of Wrexham and people employed in this area. We had over £1 million and now there is £237,000 in the pot.

“Most of the services will not be around – they will close because we, as a local authority, can’t subsidise them.

“Officers have been working tirelessly to put a plan in place to help the most deprived areas in Wrexham.

“We will continue to deal with poverty on a day to day basis but we had the funding and now we don’t. We will do our best as we always do.”

An assessment shows six of the services which currently benefit from the funding are classed as at high risk of closure.

The programme has a wide range of examples of where ex-offenders have been supported to rehabilitate and reintegrate within the community.

And without funding to continue these services, fears have been raised it could also lead to increased levels of

An assessment of service users carried out after it was announced the scheme was to be scrapped revealed a high proportion of people stated that they did not know where they would go for assistance or felt they would go nowhere.

Plas Madoc Opportunity Centre, Brynteg Community House, The Venture, Gwenfro Valley, The Land and Gwenfro House are all classed as being at high risk of closure.

Luke O’Connor House in Hightown, the Caia Park Partnership and Little Sunflowers Childcare are at a medium risk.

Low risk facilities include the Ruabon Centre of Excellence, Pant Community Centre, Llay Resource Centre, Brymbo and Tanyfron Regeneration Trust and Hightown Community Resource Centre.

Gwersyllt Resource Centre, Rhos Community Cafe, Church of the Nazarene in Penycae, Splash Community Trust, The Stiwt and Brynteg Memorial Hall are also low risk.

In October last year, the cabinet secretary for communities and children, Carl Sargeant AM, indicated he was minded to phase out the programme and following a consultation process, confirmed in a statement in February this year that the Communities First programme was to close by March 31, 2018.

This was part of a new approach to building resilient communities, which has seen changes to other Welsh Government programmes.