Council Agrees Funding for New Projects
Funding for a range of new Council projects was agreed at a meeting of all councillors on the 17th July, including funds to support the town centre.
A review of the final accounts for 2018/19 yielded an underspend of £800k which has been allocated to three projects, namely; £350k for new average speed cameras; £250k for required works at the Council’s deports, and; £200k for security improvements at the Willow Drift traveller site, adjacent to Meadow Lane on the A603.
Councillors also agreed around £2.3m of funding for new initiatives following a review of reserves, summarised as follows:
∙ Public events and activities to support Bedford town centre
∙ A reintroduction of the Climate Change Fund, supporting local organisations with grants to reduce their carbon emissions
∙ A ‘Young People Empowerment Fund’ to assist voluntary organisations offering support to improve the skills of children and young people
∙ Additional funding to provide improvements to open spaces, highways and the public realm ∙ A continuation of the Council’s Jobs Hub for a further four years, offering careers advice and guidance to job seekers
Further details of specific schemes will be announced in due course.
The Chief Executives of Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital have reaffirmed their commitment to the Trusts’ proposed merger, even though funding of £110m to support the business case has not been forthcoming from NHS England. Until funding is provided, the Trusts will continue to work on joint schemes including pathology and IT systems.
The merger, announced in autumn 2017, pledged to protect key services at Bedford Hospital including A & E, maternity and paediatrics.
Bedford Hospital’s ‘Three Year Plan’
Bedford Hospital has set out areas for enhanced services over the next three years, including:
∙ An upgrade to two theatres and day surgery (subject to the receipt of capital funding) ∙ Improvements to children’s A & E
∙ The implementation of ‘the largest digitalisation in the history of the Trust’, including digital patient records and data
∙ Improvements to ambulatory care (same day emergency appointments) to increase the number of patients that can be seen
∙ A focus on recruitment in A & E, maternity and paediatrics
For more information search ‘Bedford Hospital 3 year plan’
Milton Keynes Council is undertaking roadworks on the A422 between Chicheley roundabout and the junction with the A428 at Bromham, resulting in the closure of the road for 24 hours a day from the 5th August – 18th August.
For more information on current roadworks across the Borough see www.roadworks.org Homelessness Grant
The Council has accepted grant funding of £547k from the Government to deliver a range of support servicesfor rough sleepers, as set out below:
∙ £85k is to be available for homelessness prevention work
∙ £221k will be used to provide a 24 hour ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ based at 26 Harpur Street in the town centre, providing overnight beds as well as cooking and washing facilities whilst housing needs are assessed ∙ £125k will fund ‘Rough Sleeper Navigators’ for a 12 month period to ensure rough sleepers have access to services, providing in particular support to those with complex needs
∙ £106k has been allocated to employ Local Lettings Officers for 12 months who will work with housing providers to provide secure accommodation for rough sleepers.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Support
The Council has launched a ‘Local Offer’ website, providing details of support and services available to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This includes details of health services, family support and entertainment. For more information see localoffer.bedford.gov.uk
The Ward Fund allows councillors to support community schemes. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any potential projects. The following deadlines apply: highways and greenspace – 13th September; litter bins / salt bins – 22nd November, and; projects supporting external organisations – 13th December.