Neighbourhood projects and ways to spend local budgets are among the topics of discussion at a number of Ward Committee meetings scheduled to take place this summer.
Last year the Executive re-established Ward Committees and devolved nearly £1million of funding locally. Over the last 12 months these funds have been allocated to all York wards, to spend on local priorities which benefit residents living within the ward boundaries.
Ward Committee meetings are open to all residents and give the chance to make decisions on local budgets, learn about different projects, solve local issues and share ideas. It is also an ideal opportunity to meet key neighbourhood partners such as the police and find out about volunteering opportunities, all of which help strengthen communities and help shape a better place to live.
Local groups and organisations are always welcome to attend to find out more about accessing ward funding to further their initiatives for the benefit of local people.
Ward Committee meetings take a variety of different formats, many of which are fun and informal. At times they form part of a bigger event such as recent summer fair events at Hempland Primary School and Heworth Without, while over 100 people went to the July Micklegate Ward meeting at Scarcroft School, which focussed on education planning in the local area. In Fishergate, more than 400 local people enjoyed music, community group stalls, a climbing wall and play area and a chance to talk with councillors at the ward summer event at Millennium Green.
A number of successful projects have already been allocated ward funding based on local requests. These include installing community defibrillators in the phone box in Strensall and at Heworth Without Community Centre, providing new furnishings at St Paul’s Church, Holgate to help transform the community space, provision of new fencing at Copmanthorpe Youth Club, grants to Friends of Glen Gardens in Heworth and Acomb Timebank, improvements to Fulford Scout Hut, and the purchasing of 30 new litter pickers in Westfield. Ward Committee budgets are also being used by local communities to fund road, cycle and footpath schemes, streetlights, notice boards as well as litter and salt bins.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council and Leader of the Lib Dem group said:“By re-establishing Ward Committees we have started the process of devolving funding and decision-making to local residents and community groups. The £1million pot has been used by wards across the city to fund lots of great projects for residents and community groups.
“In the coming months we’d love even more people to have their say and get involved with local matters. Ward Committee meetings help ensure that the ward’s priorities reflect what matters to local residents and helps build vibrant, strong communities.”
Planned Ward Committee meetings this summer will be taking place at:
· Clifton, 23 August at 6.30pm, Burton Stone Community Centre (part of a family community event to help redecorate the youth club)
· Rural West, 23 August at 7pm, Manor School
· Fulford and Heslington, 7 September from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Heslington Church
Dates for all Ward Committee meetings will appear on www.york.gov.uk/wards and local posters as soon as they are scheduled.
Details of the Local Plan will also be available at the meetings, with information boards on display and feedback questionnaires available to enable residents to have their say. Local Plan drop-in events, with council officers present to answer questions and talk about the Plan, are planned throughout August at Osbaldwick Sports Centre, Dunnington Reading Room, York Sport, Acomb Explore, Tesco store at Tadcaster Road and Oaken Grove Community Centre. Sessions take place from 3pm to 7.30pm and more information can be found at www.york.gov.uk/localplan
Residents can also have their say at www.york.gov.uk/consultations where views are welcomed on the Local Plan, the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and equipment for play areas.