As a result of the community hubsÂ consultationÂ Wolverhampton City Council have issued the following press release with regards the the revised Community Hubs proposals being considered by cabinet next week:
The man leading the consultation to find ways of protecting library, youth and community services in the face of massive Government cuts has thanked the thousands who took part and pledged: â€œYour views have made a real difference.â€
Wolverhampton City Councilâ€™s Cabinet will next week to consider revised proposals for a series of community hubs across the city. The proposals have been amended following comments and suggestions from service users, residents, staff and other stakeholders.
Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities Councillor Elias Mattu said: â€œThanks to the input of thousands of local people we now have revised our proposals which will defend the future of these services in the face of swingeing Government cuts.
â€œPeople told us, please, do your best to protect these services. In the proposals which will be presented to Cabinet next week, thatâ€™s precisely what we aim to achieve.
â€œOf course, itâ€™s impossible to take on board every individualâ€™s view, especially at a time when we have to reduce the costs of running these services. But when people see how weâ€™ve responded, they will see that this has been a genuine consultation.â€
Over 1,800 people took part in meetings, while feedback from more than 1,000 questionnaires, 12 petitions and hundreds of letters was also taken on board. Councillor Mattu said: â€œTalking to the public really has made a difference.
â€œNot only have we listened to thousands of people, weâ€™ve analysed local transport to understand how our proposals might impact on peopleâ€™s ability to access their services. Iâ€™ve personally visited every single site for our proposed community hubs to make sure I understand at first-hand what matters most to people in their local neighbourhoods.â€
The community hubs proposals will see a number of centres created across Wolverhampton offering a wide range of services from under one roof. Larger hubs could offer information and library services, community facilities and health, youth, adult education, social care and family support services, while smaller hubs couldÂ provide information and library services, community facilities and, where appropriate, youth services.
The main changes following the consultation include new proposals to retain six libraries, as well as a number of community and youth centres, in their current locations. There is also a commitment to closely involve the local community in the development of a total of 10 community hubs and three community service hubs across the city.
Councillor Mattu said the revised proposals, which will now deliver savings of Â£967,000 instead of the Â£1.1m earmarked by the original plans, reflected the findings of the consultation that some areas of the city were more supportive of community hubs than others.
He added: â€œWe always said there could never be a one size fits all for our cityâ€™s diverse neighbourhoods and the publicâ€™s input has shaped proposals to meet the specific needs of each locality. What is more, our revised proposals ensure the ongoing consultation with the public at the detailed service design stage over a phased programme of five years.â€
As a result Cabinet will be asked to agree revised proposals to retain Finchfield, East Park, Low Hill, Penn, Tettenhall and Whitmore Reans libraries in their current locations. It is now proposed that Collingwood Library will become a self-service library in a new location from April 2013.
Of the cityâ€™s 13 youth centres, it is proposed that nine will be retained as they are, three will be relocated to community hubs and one will be located to a community service hub, subject to further consultation.
Of the cityâ€™s 22 community centres, Cabinet will be asked to agree to a phased programme to retain and designate seven as community hubs, three will be retained as community centres under existing arrangements, eight will be operated by community associations with help for them to become self-sufficient, three will be transferred to partners with existing provision safeguarded as a condition of transfer wherever possible. One will be demolished and its services relocated to a community hub.
Cabinet is also being asked to ensure there is close engagement with the local community in the detailed development and introduction of community hubs in a phased programme over five years as follows:
Phase 1, from 2013 to 2014
Development of community hubs in Long Knowle, Wednesfield, Low Hill, Pendeford/Priory Green, Ashmore Park, Lower Bradley, Parkfield and Blakenhall.
During phase one, the council will seek to retain, through greater self-sufficiency, the community centres at Lunt, Portobello, Dunstall and Lanesfield. The premises used by Daisy Bank Community Centre will be closed and its services relocated.
Also during this phase, Warstones will be confirmed as a Community Service Hub for the south west of the city. Tettenhall Wood Institute will be retained subject to the achievement of greater levels of self-sufficiency agreed with local stakeholders.
Phase 2, from 2014 to 2016
Development of a community hub in East Park as well as a Lower Bradley Community Partnership, developed with the health service and GP practice after further consultation.
Also during this phase, Bilston town centre will be confirmed as the location for the South East Community Service Hub and proposals on Eastfield Community Centre will be developed for consultation. With further input from the public, East Park Library will be developed into a community hub. In the south west of the city, proposals for Bradmore Community Centre will be developed for consultation and the potential for a community hub in Whitmore Reans will be explored.
Phase 3, from 2015 to 2018
A business case will be developed for consultation for the establishment of a North East Community Service Hub.
Members of Wolverhampton City Councilâ€™s Cabinet will consider the revised proposals on Wednesday December 5, 2012. The outcome will be communicated to stakeholders who participated in the consultation.
In total, 1,820 people (including staff) attended public meetings (1,691 individuals not including staff). The breakdown is as follows:
- Local Neighbourhood Partnership meetings â€“ 623
- Youth Centre meetings â€“ 304
- Community centre meetings â€“ 350
- Library meetings â€“ 325
- Meetings for communities of interest â€“ 27
- Voluntary/Third Sector Partnership meeting â€“ 39
- Other meetings â€“ 23
- Staff at meetings â€“ 129
- Additionally, a meeting for Library Service staff was attended by 72 people, while Councillor Mattu met individuals at more than a dozen other meetings.
A total of 1,022 consultation questionnaires were received (763 paper copies and 259 which were completed online), along with 105 letters from individuals, 164 letters from Woodfield Infant and Junior School regarding Penn Library, 465 letters from East Park Primary School regarding East Park Library and 36 letters from St Andrewâ€™s CE Primary School about Whitmore Reans Library.
Twelve petitions, 669 UNISON â€˜Save our Librariesâ€™ postcards and 45 â€˜Your Say on the future of Penn Libraryâ€™ slips from Penn Labour Group leaflets were also received, along with 24 calls to City Direct.