A series of eight public events have been announced as Bristol City Council continues to consult the public on a range of savings proposals, with bookings open from 9am on Thursday 22 June. Due to reductions in central government funding and the needs of a growing and ageing population, the council has less money to provide services over the next five years. It recently announced proposals for how it can make savings worth just over £4.7m in budgets for libraries, public toilets, school crossing patrols, Neighbourhood Partnerships and Bristol Community Links. The consultation looks at smaller, more focused options which aim to encourage people to take part in civic life and reduce dependency on council-funded services. The proposed changes include reducing the number of city libraries to 10; closing street toilets and investing in a new community toilet scheme to expand availability; removing around half of the city’s school crossing patrols (unless community, school or other options emerge); changing the current Neighbourhood Partnership model to a local grant system with less frequent community meetings; and making detailed changes to the way a suite of services for adults with learning disabilities and dementia operate. The council is also consulting the public on proposals for delivering savings of £1.8m against its Supporting People budget. Supporting People is a collection of free prevention services, which are designed to intervene early and prevent the need for more intensive support. Currently 43 different organisations provide services to help a wide range of people live independently. The public events will be independently hosted and will include a question and answer session with the Mayor and Cabinet Members, followed by facilitated round table discussions that will consider topics such as how local people can become more involved in city life, suggestions for reducing council costs or raising money and which other organisations the council can work with. Bookings can be made from 9am on Thursday 22 June on a first come, first served basis:
Thursday 29 June, The Greenway Centre (BS10 5PY), 12.30-2pm, https://yourneighbourhood01.eventbrite.co.uk
Monday 10 July, City Hall (BS1 5TR), 6.30-8pm, https://yourneighbourhood02.eventbrite.co.uk
Tuesday 11 July, The Vassall Centre (BS16 2QQ), 12.30-2pm, https://yourneighbourhood03.eventbrite.co.uk
Wednesday 12 July, Broadmead Baptist Church (BS1 3HY), 12.30-2pm, https://yourneighbourhood04.eventbrite.co.uk
Thursday 13 July, The Park (BS4 1DQ), 6.30-8pm, https://yourneighbourhood05.eventbrite.co.uk
Wednesday 19 July, The Vassall Centre (BS16 2QQ), 6.30-8pm, https://yourneighbourhood06.eventbrite.co.uk
Monday 24 July, The Park (BS4 1DQ), 12.30-2pm, https://yourneighbourhood07.eventbrite.co.uk
Monday 24 July, Shirehampton Public Hall (BS11 9TX), 6.30-8pm, https://yourneighbourhood08.eventbrite.co.uk
Anybody without internet access can book by calling the council’s consultation team on 0117 922 2848. All efforts will be made to accommodate anyone with specific access needs, and people from the deaf and hard of hearing communities can expect additional services on offer at The Vassall Centre, making these sessions particularly suitable options for them. Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said:
We will be pushing the government hard on funding issues, working alongside other cities as we all face incredibly difficult choices following years of austerity and its damaging impacts. Our savings proposals reflect our current financial position and how we can provide adequate services without spreading ourselves hopelessly thin. These public events will provide another way for us to discuss this together as a city, share ideas and work on what things might look like in future. We will be gathering views across the board and considering them carefully before any final prposals are developed or decisions are made. I hope people will come and take part in some productive, forward-looking discussions.
More information about all of the council’s proposals is available at www.bristol.gov.uk/yourneighbourhood , where people can also take part in surveys to share their ideas and views.
Survey responses must be received by Tuesday 5 September 2017.