Concerns over county council budget

NMAC11-0433-14'Unison protest at County Hall, West Bridgford.
NMAC11-0433-14'Unison protest at County Hall, West Bridgford.

HUGE concerns have been raised about the impact county council cuts will have on Eastwood and Kimberley.

Only last week Kimberley town councillors wrote to the leader of the borough council outlining the reasons why they thought the town had been dealt a tough hand over the last year.

NMAC11-0433-2'Unison protest at County Hall, West Bridgford.

NMAC11-0433-2'Unison protest at County Hall, West Bridgford.

And the next 12 months will be no exception for the two towns after Nottinghamshire county council approved a £154m package of cuts at the end of February.

The council’s controversial budget set out reductions in spending on services ranging from library opening hours to services for the elderly, highways and grants for the vulnerable.

Already, Eastwood’s Connexions career advice centre has closed down and staff at the town’s homeless hostel, Stepping Stones, have been told the service has been earmarked to have its grant pulled, possibly forcing it to close in July.

Eastwood Volunteer Bureau is also battling to stay afloat and like many other organisations, staff are waiting to hear over the next month how much of their annual grant they will get.

Kay Cutts

Kay Cutts

Bureau manager Sue Bagshaw said: “We are all waiting to hear. Everybody is on edge waiting.

“It’s not good. Everybody is affected. We’ve even got people using our meeting rooms now because their facilities have been taken away from them,” she said.

The bureau offers services in befriending, community transport and second hand furniture. Ms Bagshaw said the furniture service will probably have to be scrapped, and whilst she has not heard anything about the grant for the befriending service, she is not hopeful.

“They (the council) might not see it as a necessary service, but at the end of the day the befriending service offers pensioners company, which in turn helps them stay in their homes.

MDL100208A1 - Eastwood volunteer bureau feature l-r Transport co-ordinator Jane Statham, manager Susan Bagshaw and furniture and befriending manager barbara Hodgkinson

MDL100208A1 - Eastwood volunteer bureau feature l-r Transport co-ordinator Jane Statham, manager Susan Bagshaw and furniture and befriending manager barbara Hodgkinson

“If they all started moving in to care homes the council would have to fork out for that.”

The bureau manager said she felt confident she would get the grant for community transport, but it said would not be as much as usual.

Libraries in both towns are having their hours drastically reduced. Eastwood opening hours are going from 43 down to 26 and opening times at Kimberley are going from 35 to 22.

Community groups and social clubs across the county will also have their grants scrapped – in a day and age where people complain towns are losing their sense of community spirit.

Many, including Nuthall Friendship Group, will have to come to an end if they fall victim to the cuts.

Staff at Eastwood Citizen’s Advice Bureau are also worried about the future of their key service.

The county council plans to make drastic cuts to the advice bureau countywide.

But staff at the Eastwood office say the town is one of the most deprived in the county, and taking funding away from a service that helps people struggling, will only make matters worse.

The council says plans to re-invest some of the savings back into services for vulnerable children but until the full impact is known there will be grave fears about services in our towns.