The Area Council Manager reminded Members of the commission to assist isolated and older people, which was due to end in January, 2019. The Area Council had considered a number of options to take forward the positive work undertaken by Age UK and it was decided to establish a grant regime with a budget of £70,000.
Members noted that the associated specification highlighted the need to build on good practice, assist in the areas highlighted as being ‘hotspots’ of isolation, and use existing community assets.
The Working Together Fund had been established in 2015, and since then had a combined total budget of £202,038, with £21,963 remaining. Members discussed the issues relating to the TPT conservation volunteers project, and the delays due to Network Rail. It was suggested that both Cllr Wilson and the Area Council Manager make enquiries to progress this.
Members noted that the information and advice service was due to come to an end in December, 2018, and a paper providing data in relation to fuel poverty and numbers of residents claiming benefits was circulated.
Members discussed the information provided, noting that many issues were often masked by the relative overall affluence of the area. It was also noted that rural communities often spend a relatively high proportion of available finance on accessing services. Many services are now provided online, but roll out of Superfast Broadband has been delayed, and many elderly residents chose not to access services electronically even if the service was available.
Following discussion Members agreed that there was a continued need to provide face to face advice, and that applications to provide existing, as well as pilot new targeted provision, be encouraged.
The attention of Members was drawn to the financial overview for the Area Council. It was noted that costs had slightly increased for the distribution of the community magazine and that £18,448 remained for allocation in the current financial year.
(i) That the updates in relation to current commissions be noted;
(ii) That the update in relation to the Isolated and Older People Grant Fund be noted;
(iii) That the financial position of the Working Together Fund be noted and an application for the provision of advice services be encouraged; and
(iv) That the financial position of the Area Council be noted.