Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh dear, I have been a bit lax about this blog recently, haven't I.  In an effort to make amends herewith a mega catch-up:
Last weekend was time off, visiting our daughter and her family to celebrate a birthday.  Young children are so enthusiastic about everything - it's a really relaxing way to spend the time.  There's no time to think about work!
Monday was taken up with meetings looking at ways to save money in the council's services.  How can we save money in the department dealing with the regeneration of the borough without delaying that regeneration? And that's just one of the questions asked during the course of the morning.  During the afternoon the question turned to the section dealing with emptying bins, collecting recycling, planting out flowers and cutting grass, putting up market stalls, and many more day to day jobs around the borough.  Does anyone want there to be less of any of those things?  Probably not.  Can we save money but still do the same amount of  work?  Not very easily!  Everyone has examples or urban legends of workmen who turn up somewhere and don't do any work, but I'm reasonably convinced that there aren't many genuine examples of that these days in this borough. Certainly not enough to save a million pounds!

Tuesday's meetings were about spending money for a change.  The Western Area Partnership has had a small amount of money to spend on helping people to get into employment or stay in employment in difficult times.  We've spent some over the last couple of years on helping people to access credit through the Credit Union & helping others to get back into training or education with courses in IT and first aid being particularly popular.  Now the last tranche is going to be spent on helping some of the young people who are struggling to get work.  Decisions were taken on how to find the right courses to attract the young people who aren't getting help any other way.  Working together with officers from different parts of the council and using the experience of the councillors from the world of work we hope we've got the right sort of combination. 
The second meeting was Parish Council Recreation Committee, deciding on the next stages in the refurbishment of our play areas.  Spending thousands of pounds on equipment and its installation means that the young people of the area are getting really modern play areas while a handful of local people keep their jobs while installing it.  Not a huge contribution to the local economy but every little helps.
Wednesday was my first opportunity to catch up on phone calls and emails from residents on all kinds of subjects.  Discussions on the problems of Housing Association tenants getting what they want from their landlord, signs to indicate where a private footpath starts and a public one ends, dangerous driving, inconsiderate parking, the Dog Control Area in Preston Park, Fairtrade and more took up most of the day.  It's a long time since I've spent almost an entire day on phoning and emailing like this!
So there we are, caught up!  And we've had a sunny day too.  What more could anyone ask?

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