Somerset County Council’s public engagement roadshow will be in the market for people’s priorities in Frome later this month.
The ‘Listening Learning Changing’ marquee will be at Frome Market in Justice Lane on Saturday, between 9am and 1pm. It’s seeking views as the council looks to the future while facing the challenges of rising demand and falling funding.
This is the fourth year the authority has run the events, asking people to try their hand at balancing its budget on a giant set of scales and asking questions about its priorities and other key issues. It is visiting 11 towns across the county throughout the summer.
“We’ve seen great enthusiasm at the events so far,” said Councillor John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council. “We’re here to speak to residents and understand their priorities so we want to meet as many as possible.
“We are ambitious and looking positively to the future with initiatives like the Vision for Somerset. But once again huge reductions in funding from central Government and pressures caused by an ageing population mean we also have to make more savings.”
As well as the Balancing Act scales, people can show their priorities by placing coins in our ‘Think Tanks’ and complete a short questionnaire. The same questionnaire will also soon be available online at www.somerset.gov.uk/listening
Central Government funding for the County Council fell by £15m last year and is due to fall by a further £42m by 2019/2020. At the same time, demand for the authority’s services, particularly Adult Social Care, is increasing, driven largely by Somerset’s ageing population. In less than 20 years, people aged 65 and over will make up more than a quarter of the population in almost every part of the county.
“We estimate we need to make savings of around £15m next financial year,” said Cllr Osman. “We have already saved roughly £120m over the last five years and it is very difficult to find further savings without hitting the services that we know residents value.
“I have worked hard to make this a council that listens and does its best to take people’s views into account when we are discussing these tough decisions.”
After Frome, the roadshow will be visiting Yeovil and Dunster in July; Taunton, Bridgwater and Shepton Mallet in August and Wellington in September.
Representatives from the Council will be on hand to answer questions and fun activities will be available to keep children entertained. The full details of the remaining events are as follows:
|Saturday, 11 June||Ilminster||Ilminster Midsummer Experience||10am – 1pm|
|Saturday, 18 June||Frome||Stand at Frome Market||9am – 1pm|
|Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 July||Yeovil||Yeovil Show, Yeovil Showground||9am – 6pm
|Wednesday, 27 July||Dunster||Dunster Country Fair||10am – 5pm|
|Friday, 5 August & Sunday 6 August||Taunton||Taunton Flower Show||10am – 6pm|
|Saturday, 20 August||Bridgwater||Stand at Bridgwater Market||9am – 2pm|
|Sunday, 21 August||Shepton Mallet||Mid Somerset Show||8am – 6pm|
|Saturday, 3 September||Wellington||Wellington Food Festival||10am – 4pm|