Stockport council to invest £1.25 million across six schemes to help bring the borough back

Stockport Council will invest more than £1 million in “one-time money” to help the borough recover from the pandemic over the next 12 months.

These six schemes, ranging from flood prevention to mental health, are part of his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022/23.

But this also includes a 3.5% increase in council tax, meaning the average Band D household can expect an increase in their annual bill of over £60.

READ MORE : Stockport residents face 3.5% council tax increase from April

Deputy council leader Tom McGee says chiefs are aware of the “burden” this will place on residents, so they have identified a number of “positive investments” to address some long-standing issues in the district.

The cash comes from one-time grants rather than expected tax revenue, and is separate from the main capital spending program.

A report to be presented to Cabinet on Tuesday night says the schemes have been selected to “support the recovery process and continue to support the delivery of our ambitions and priorities for the Borough”.

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They are the following:

Digital services in libraries – £100k

Bosses say the last two years have shown how ‘vital it is to be digitally included in today’s world’.

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However, many Stockport residents remain excluded because they lack skills or do not have access to affordable devices and data.

The money will go to communities that are most at risk of being digitally left behind, such as the elderly and the most disadvantaged.

Mental Health and Addiction Services – £150k

This additional investment in mental health and alcohol and drug services will allow continued support to communities that need it most.

Council chiefs say the additional funding will be vital to address people’s additional needs and health inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.

The report adds: “Evidence shows that these types of targeted personalized interventions have the greatest sustainable impact when working with people living with mental health or addiction needs.”

The cash will be spent to help the voluntary sector respond with prevention or early intervention services for families and adults.

A smaller proportion of the funds would be dedicated to boosting mental health training for frontline staff and Stockport’s planned mental health and wellness campaign.

Targeted Youth Support – £150k

This will boost the newly developed Outstanding Youth Task Force in their work to engage young people in their local communities.

The team aims to reduce antisocial behavior and disorder in groups of young people who gather in public areas.

Youth workers will identify and engage youth at risk for this behavior through the use of specialized skills and mentoring.

It is also supported by a school-based offer to improve linkage, raise awareness and reduce the risk of exclusion.

Councilor Tom McGee, Deputy Leader, Stockport Council

F Environmental and Flood Infrastructure – £500k

Stockport has been hit hard by severe flooding in recent years, creating misery for many of its residents.

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Bosses say a “huge amount of work” has been done to mitigate future downpours, but more needs to be done to make the infrastructure “as robust as possible.”

As part of this, the council has committed to planting as many trees as possible through its ‘Climate Action Now’ strategy.

The budget report adds: “This is not only to work toward our 2038 carbon neutrality goal, but also to increase water attenuation throughout the district, relieving some of the pressure on our drainage systems.

“This unique and very welcome capital investment is an opportunity to add to the significant amount of work already being done and will make a difference.”

District Centers – £250k

Council bosses say the pandemic has shown how district centers – from Cheadle and the Heatons to Romiley and Hazel Grove – are ‘incredibly important’ and ‘lifelines for our communities’.

This money is intended to supplement the work the council is already doing to improve these areas.

The report adds: “The investment will allow small capital interventions in the centers that will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. [basis] to ensure that any intervention of this type contributes to the vitality and dynamism of the center”.

The council may also review the interest-free loan scheme it proposed in 2019 but was put on hold during the pandemic.

Armed Forces Veterans – £100k

This short-term investment in support of county veterans is intended to strengthen the council’s partnership with the military.

It will help both organizations take a “joint approach” in providing services to those who have served, or are still serving, and their families.

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“This will ensure that they are not disadvantaged and have equal opportunities as established in the armed forces agreement,” the council report adds.

The funds will be used to meet the needs of veterans “with a view to developing a long-term, sustainable supply throughout the county.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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