A review of my hopes for 2015
A review of my hopes for 2015, as the year comes to a close.
At the start of the year I shared my hopes so, I thought now was the time to be brave and review them!
- I want to see the Library Service come under more local control and the doors open more at the end of the year than they are now. For the latest news read Sue’s account of public meeting. The dialogue continues but now needs to move towards a tangible business case and hopefully this will be involving users of the Library who I know are passionate to be part of the solution. We must succeed in 2016 or we risk our Library Service being out of local control and that will make it more at risk of closure, in my opinion.
- I want to see Nancherrow Youth club finding a way to provide sustainable services to our young people and the excellent music provision retained in the town. I’m glad to say the Centre is still there and functioning so that young people can still benefit from the services and facilities there. Like many services in our communities, the ups and downs might be on-going but the Management Committee seem to have matters in local control.
- I would like people in our many distinct communities to have a say on what needs preserving, what needs changing, where new homes are needed and what they should look like. This remains a hope but will involve an appetite to develop a neighbourhood plan, for this to be formal. I have held and attended public meetings to consider issues like the Leat and lack of burial places in Pendeen. I remain involved with the Friends of St Just Library and the Town Council regarding our local library.
- I want to see trade increase in our town, with coach passengers able to stop and spend their money, not just pass through between Penzance or Lands End and St Ives. If people have not noticed, there is now a coach parking bay, opposite the bus stop in St Just. It is down to local businesses to promote this and I am told that it has been in use and I hope, with the development of Kurt Jackson’s gallery in the town its use and the benefits will grow in 2016.
- I want to see the Pioneer project thrive in our community bringing together health, adult care and other partners to do the best for people with health and social needs. I understand the project is being watched and copied and I think it is making a significant difference to people with complex health needs. The project is paving the way for wider health and social care integration discussions. I have become part of a local stakeholder group.
- I hope that all community groups, with buildings, come to understand and prepare themselves for the increased costs coming their way in 2017/18 due to the reductions planned in discretionary business rates relief. Whilst the proposed changes were kicked into the long grass, I have a sneaky feeling they have not actually gone away as the pressure on the budgets mean that savings have to be made and to reduce the cuts, departments are being challenged to raise income. Any groups struggling, I’d like to have a conversation with them, to consider options, before things become a crisis.
- I’d like to see more people volunteering and enjoying our community farm at Bosavern; also buying from them at our Farmers’ Markets. Hopefully many will have seen their very professional film on u-tube and heard that they were recognised at Cornwall Sustainability Awards by being declared joint winners in the category ‘Best contribution to a sustainable food economy – From nature to plate’. The project has come a long way and I know that at both St Just and Pendeen Farmers’ Markets many people come specifically to support them. A heritage lottery award to the ‘First and Last – Penwith Landscape Partnership project’ could bring opportunities to the farm and the wider farming community and our natural environment. There is more about this award on my website and I will be part of the Partnership Board so will be looking and seizing opportunities for our area to benefit from the 13 interconnected projects.
- For the good of all our local children I want to see our schools working together to provide consistently excellent and sustainable education; our children are our communities future. Our 3 schools remain a vital part of our community although there have been changes to their leadership and the Government agenda will I’m sure bring more challenges their way. I suspect they will all follow Pendeen and move outside of Local Authority control and whilst I am not convinced that is a good thing, I hope that, like me you will continue to support them.
- I want to welcome new residents into the new homes built by Lands End Peninsula Community Land Trust in Pendeen. I am pleased to report that 8 families have a home that they might not have had if we had not built these. I wish all their residents happiness and success in 2016 and I hope they will get involved in our local community.
- I hope Andrew George is re-elected as our M.P. in May 2015. Well I suppose some hopes had to be completely dashed and this was one of them!
- Good foundations built for health and social care to integrate to provide better services to those in need in Cornwall, despite pressures on funding. The talking continues, commitment to the integration of health and social care grows. However, as I said at a recent meeting, we will have succeeded when instead of talking about our ambitions we are talking about our achievements and the health and well-being benefits of integration. I was encouraged, at a recent meeting that the importance of achieving this for children and young adults as well as the elderly and disabled is also recognised and essential.
- More powers devolved from Government to Cornwall so that decisions affecting people living in Cornwall are made locally and that money stays in our local economy. We are yet to see the benefits (or challenges) unfold but we are the first rural authority to have agreement from Government to grant substantial devolved powers. The devil will be in the detail and that detail will unfold during 2016. So far, we do not have to have an elected Mayor!
- No significant storm damage. Best not tempt fate here! However, we must spare a thought for those communities struggling from flooding in the run up to Christmas.
- A new Government that values public services and supports them to do the right thing for local people. Oh dear, another one dashed, I fear. Money is being drained away from local councils and it was the Government grants that funded many valued services. Council tax and what can be kept from business rates is just not enough to fund all the things that many people love. In fact, very soon it will be hard to fund the basics and essentials.
- Cancellation of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Sadly we look as if 2016 will bring the excitement of a 2nd round of Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I’m still trying to get these elections abandoned but fear it is now too late. However, you could help me push to get a debate in Parliament by signing Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners petition and sharing it widely with family and friends.
- Learn to play the piano. Teaching myself but progress slow. Need to put more time to this one!
- Lose 1 stone in weight. Again, not done so well but have lost 9lbs.
- Make a difference. Well I will leave others to judge….
Can I wish you all a great Christmas and New Year with your families.