North Somerset Council members met last week to set the budget for the year ahead. Councillors approved the budget which protects vital council services while also investing extra money to improve quality of life for everyone in North Somerset, including children and young people.
Cllr Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “North Somerset is a great place to grow up, but we want to make childhood fairer for everyone, especially those who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, or have special educational or additional needs. All children deserve opportunities to flourish, so we are committing money to support those who need help to thrive.
“We are backing our children and young people.
“Through our collaborative approach we are committed to making North Somerset open, fairer and greener, and this budget does just that.”
The investment to improve services for children and young people includes:
- increasing the budget available to support families with disabled children by almost £0.5m.
- £1.1m additional budget will be used to support the council’s improvement plan for children’s social care and children with special educational needs and disabilities.
- facilities in schools will be improved to increase capacity and improve pupil wellbeing with better mental health provision – Gordano, Yatton and Churchill will all benefit.
- £3m of repairs to school buildings to improve standards of accommodation
- projects at North Somerset children’s centres including an upgrade of the Carlton Centre in Weston into a Family Hub to help children, young people and their families
- £300k initial investment in play areas with £150k to upgrade play areas every year in the future
- the council is also setting aside £250k to offer as match funding to town and parish councils to invest in their own play areas / skate parks, an example of how the council is working in partnership with local communities and sharing resources to improve facilities for our residents.
£40m additional investment has been approved by the council, which is in addition to the £300m already committed for long-term investment in local projects.
Residents will continue to get good services from the council with key services like social care, recycling and waste and roads and pavement maintenance protected. The budget also protects local people from the impact of cuts, and increases in fees and charges are being kept to a minimum.