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Cabinet welcomes exciting and innovative initiatives

Published: 22/07/2016

Cabinet members welcomed several exciting and innovative reports and initiatives when they met on Tuesday, 19 July. Flintshire County Council has performed well during the last financial year. This consistently good performance has been recognised by the Auditor General for Wales who has said of performance in 2014/15: “The Council’s performance relative to other councils in Wales improved significantly.” Flintshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Colin Everett, said: The Council is making good progress. Despite intense funding pressures, and reductions in national funding, Flintshire has been creative and successful in achieving its aims for another year. We are continuing to reach and surpass targets and continue to show improvement year on year.” In another report, Cabinet heard about the successful annual performance of Social Services. Councillor Christine Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Services, told the meeting: “This is an excellent report. Social Services continues to drive forward service improvement and is well placed to respond to the challenging financial environment, but is realistic about the size of the challenge. We are not complacent, and I am proud of the good work that has been carried out across the board. The exciting new development of an Extra Care Scheme in Holywell was also warmly welcomed and approved at the meeting. The model of support for this new scheme will be based on the very successful model which operates in Llys Eleanor in Shotton and Llys Jasmine in Mold. Councillor Christine Jones said: “This facility will provide high quality home-based care services and will be a real flagship for Holywell and for Flintshire, providing self-contained apartments, including apartments that are specially designed for people with dementia.” This continues the great work that Flintshire County Council has been doing around supporting people with dementia and their carers. Flintshire was the first council in North Wales to have two towns – Flint and Buckley - recognised by the Alzheimer’s Society as dementia friendly communities. The County already boast six dementia cafes – and the number is growing. The meeting also heard how council tenants in the nine communal heating schemes across the County will benefit from lower fuel bills in the coming year as well as receiving a refund for this year’s payments. There was a drop in usage during 2015/16 compared to the previous year due, in part, to energy efficiency improvements to some properties. Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Helen Brown, said: “I am extremely pleased that we are able to offer some of our tenants a refund on their energy bills, and that across all nine communal heating schemes we are able to offer a reduction in our heating charges for the second year in a row. These new charges mean that some of our tenants will be paying as little as £4.50 a week to heat their homes.” Cabinet members were pleased to hear that the Council has listened to members and residents regarding the review of Household Recycling Centre (HRC) provision in the county. Despite Welsh Government recommendations to reduce the number of HRCs, the Council is now exploring a more localised service, adding two additional large sites (in the Flint/Connah’s Quay and Mold/Buckley areas) to supplement the facilities at Greenfield and Sandycroft. The current average recycling rate in the county is just 70% which is significantly below the 90% target achieved by high performing sites across Wales. This is due to the lack of facilities and space at some of the sites to offer the full range of recycling containers. Cabinet members agreed that it was necessary to continue to inform our residents on what can and cannot be recycled, as well as pointing out the high cost of sending waste to landfill, rather than recycling. Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Waste, Councillor Kevin Jones, said: “This locally based solution will meet the needs of communities and, at the same time, drive up recycling performance towards recycling targets.” The latest Community Asset Transfer (CAT) scheme was also welcomed as a community group has come forward to explore the potential of a CAT of Holywell Leisure Centre. The group has representatives from users of the centre, community groups and local businesses. Flintshire County Councils Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, Councillor Kevin Jones, said: “The Council is committed to working with community groups and local people to ensure that asset transfer to local communities in Flintshire is successful and sustainable in the long-term. This group has particularly impressed us, with the range of organisations involved fully representing the community, users and staff of the centre, whilst also having a good range of the necessary business skills to make this CAT work. Co-location of the leisure centre and the library means that the centre will have longer opening hours and customers can access a wider range of services in one convenient place.” Finally, but by no means least, the meeting welcomed a report proposing the development of an innovative social enterprise to meet childcare needs in Deeside. This modern and flexible approach to childcare has the potential to create up to 14 new jobs over the next 5 years, as well as offering new training, volunteering and work placement opportunities. Flintshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said: “We are looking at the former Pepperpot Inn as a potential base for this creative approach to childcare in the Deeside area, where an assessment has identified that there is a shortage of childcare provision in the area. Because of its location next to the Leisure Centre, it would deliver complementary functions.”