For the second year running, and building on from what we did last year, Wokingham Borough Council is launching its budget engagement sessions in October.
Taking place in five locations in the Borough, local people will be able to hear more about the serious funding challenges and shrinking budgets facing the council. It has to save almost £19million by 2019/20 despite responding effectively to austerity and funding cuts from central government since 2010.
It will also be a chance for local people to offer their views on the principles and priorities that will guide how the council spends its money to fund services.
Sessions will start with a half hour presentation. Attendees will then be able to talk to councillors and staff from all borough council service areas and take part in the 'Funding Priorities Dilemma' activity. This is an interactive way for attendees to comment on those areas and services they feel should get priority funding from the shrinking public purse.
People will also be able to complete a survey to tell the council what they think about the principles used by the borough council to set a budget. This will also be available online from 17 October so that anyone not able to get along to the session can also take part.
The sessions will start at 7pm (with a short presentation) and finish at 9pm:
- Monday 17 October at St Mary’s Church Centre, Station Road, Twyford
- Thursday 20 October at Maiden Place Community Centre, off Kilnsea Drive, Lower Earley
- Monday 24 October at The Bradbury Centre, Rose Street, Wokingham
- Tuesday, 25 October at Finchampstead Baptist Church, Gorse Ride North, Finchampstead
- Monday 31 October at Waingels College, Waingels Road, Woodley
If you attend a session you can take part in our prize draw - your chance to win one of these great prizes:
- A year's Family Membership (2 adults and 2 children) at any 1-Life leisure centre in Wokingham Borough
- Four day tickets for the Marvellous Festival at Dinton Pastures in 2017
- A voucher worth £100 for the Dinton Activity Centre
- A home garden waste composter
If you can't attend one of the sessions you can view the presentation slides online (PDF document).
Leader of the council Cllr Keith Baker said: "We hope our budget engagement sessions will generate a lot of valuable comments. It will also be a great opportunity for residents, businesses and organisations to talk informally to us about the 2017/18 budget.
"Our financial future is bleak. It will come as no surprise that we face some very difficult decisions because our government funding is being cut year on year. It’s important we talk about it, so and we look forward to welcoming you to our sessions."
All the ideas from the engagement sessions will be available on the council’s website later this year and comments are welcomed on the council's Twitter profile or Facebook page.