Involving you more
When it comes to getting involved in events, consultations, focus groups, volunteering opportunities and a whole host of other activities, local people have been there...done that! 2014-2015 was a busy year and some of the highlights of how local people got involved are listed below.
- Over 1,000 Gateshead residents attended Local History Month events in May 2014.
- Pupils from Years 5 and 6 of St Joseph's RC Primary School attended an anti-racism educational event run by Show Racism the Red Card in the Council Chamber on 7 November 2014.
- Completed a consultation on Dementia Friendly Communities; this was in the form of a questionnaire as well as innovative engagement sessions which were aimed at people with dementia and their carers. Actors who were contacted through Equal Arts used a variety of engagement techniques ranging from discussions and use of photographs to singing and guitar playing. Findings will be used to form a plan for Gateshead's Dementia Action Alliance.
- Conducted a survey to find out whether services received by carers are helping them in their caring role, 516 completed surveys were received (41.45% response rate). 54% of carers stated they were extremely or very satisfied with social services (an increase from 50.8% in the previous survey in 2012/13). The proportion of carers who report that they have been included or consulted in discussions about the person they care for is 81%, again above 2012/13. Carer reported quality of life is 8.7 out of 12 (a reduction from 9.0 in 2012/13 but above the England average of 8.1).
- Throughout 2014, a total of 5,092 volunteers were active in volunteering.
Between April 2014 and March 2015 we undertook 38 consultations through the use of our consultation portal available on our website. Paper questionnaires were also available for many of these consultations by either contacting the Council or picking one up in one of our local libraries.
Throughout the year we have asked local people and visitors to give us their views and tell us what is important to them for many different issues and services. Some examples include asking about:
- local libraries and leisure centres as part of the Council's budget savings
- health matters such as local pharmacy needs
- what is important for older people and people with autism
- proposed changes to some schools
- housing plans for the future such as MetroGreen (near the intu Metrocentre)
One of our big consultations in November 2014 was to do with the Council's budget and in May 2014 we asked you about Gateshead town centre and what you would like to see improved.
All of our consultations have played an important part in helping to improve or shape services and we will continue to involve local people and visitors in the decisions that we make about council services.
All of our online consultations and feedback can be accessed on our consultation pages.
We have a great track record when it comes to working with partners to deliver quality services in Gateshead. And during 2014-2015, we worked together with our partners on a number of projects that made a difference to individuals and communities.
- We've introduced a multi-agency safeguarding hub in Gateshead to support vulnerable adults (including victims of domestic abuse).
- We established a Land of Oak and Iron Landscape Partnership to work towards delivery of a four-year project, starting in 2016, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Winlaton and Chase Park Community Bases supported people with learning disabilities to tackle the issue of Hate Crime in joint partnership with Northumbria Police.
- The North East Making Smoking History Partnership is supporting the Gateshead proposal for a national scheme to require the licensing of the wholesale and retail supply of tobacco.
- Through the Speakeasy project with health and arts team colleagues, artist led activities created a resource for families and young people to use to better understand awareness and ways to improve their sexual health.
- The Financial Inclusion Network informed agencies of the rollout of Universal Credit in Gateshead (June 2015) and shared new initiatives such as partners developing self-help guides.
- Over 3,350 energy efficiency improvements, including central heating boilers and insulation measures have been delivered across the Warm Up North Partnership.