Friday, September 26, 2008

Money to Spend!

The Western Area Partnership Board doesn't usually have money to spend because that's not how things work. However, a new government initiative to focus funding on getting more people into work will mean a small amount of money targeted at our area. We're not talking about major projects here, but finding ways to help those who need a helping hand - maybe because they've been made redundant, are thinking about retraining but don't know what skills are needed, or maybe because they've graduated but now can't find work near to family and friends, or perhaps for some reason they've never found work since leaving school. I spent some time this morning mulling over ideas and criteria with council officers in preparation for meetings on Monday which will start to firm up some ideas. Exciting times, but also daunting because if we get it wrong there isn't a second chance with the money.
The second meeting of the day was to discuss recommendations from the last scrutiny review which the Environment committee did - Customer First, the council's customer service programme. It was a really constructive discussion with the cabinet member, officers and me all working on the recommendations to make sure they are clear and precise. Another hurdle out of the way so that we can move on to the review of animal welfare services and dog fouling - life on the Environment Select committee is certainly varied!!
This evening I had a report of anti-social behaviour not far from my own home so spent some time round there talking with the residents and finding out the details. It seems incredible but apparently there are people who drive to the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, park their cars with the music on full blast and proceed to drink beer and eat pizzas. The debris is then thrown up onto garage roofs or into gardens before they drive away at speed! What possible pleasure do they get from it? Phone calls to the police and Stockton's enforcement section have elicited promises of visits tonight so I hope they actually get some evidence or manage to put a stop to it. No resident should have their sleep disturbed like that and especially not elderly people who deserve our respect.

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