We will continue to stand by our values of equality and diversity, ensuring that all council decisions consider the impact on protected groups, and by promoting and tolerance and understanding amongst different people. This includes continuing to support the Borough of Sanctuary project, so that Cheshire West residents can be proud to stand up to foreign aggression and support people who are fleeing war and persecution. The Borough of Sanctuary work will ensure that people find a warm welcome and local services that can help them with their wellbeing, trauma, and feelings of loneliness.
We will maintain community budgets so that ward councillors are able to provide small funding grants to community groups or to support any local activities that build stronger communities by providing volunteering opportunities, creating new friendships or partnerships, tackling isolation and improving health, wellbeing and the environment. We will also review how this works in each locality to look for opportunities to co-fund projects.
We will review the way communities interact with council services in different parts of the Borough to consider if existing models offer the best solutions for residents. Where there are town or parish councils, or other models of civic participation, we will look at options for partnership working that could avoid duplication, share resources and deliver better outcomes for residents.
We will work with the voluntary sector on new approaches to funding after a decade of government cuts has decimated third sector budgets. This could include using our Social Value policy to provide funding and support to organisations that deliver community benefits, or crowd funding initiatives where projects are jointly funded by the council and other supporters. We will also look at Community Wealth Building ideas, like our Anchor Network, which could help to create new partnerships between the voluntary sector and large employers in our Borough.
We will build on our Citizen’s Panel and Participate Now platform to further engage local people in the decisions that affect them and the services they use. We believe in open, democratic and transparent decision-making with a robust scrutiny function and careful use of public money. As part of this we will continue to become a more responsive council by looking at innovative ideas like citizens’ jury’s and ‘participatory budgeting’.