Volunteers make for a brighter, better Barnsley

Volunteers in local communities have given a whopping £213,570 worth of their time over the past three months to help make Barnsley a great place to live, work and visit.  This is according to the Barnsley Council’s latest 2018-19 performance report, which is due to be approved by Cabinet members at their next meeting on Wednesday, 28 November.

Some 3,555 people volunteered during this time; over 1,000 more than during the same period last year, with 340 new volunteers giving up their time to help out in their community. This is more than double the council’s quarterly target.

This year’s Mayor’s Parade celebrated the work of volunteers, who are some of the borough’s best assets.

The report, published today, shows the progress the council is making towards its three priorities. Figures relate to activities which took place in quarter two of the financial year – July, August and September. It also identifies areas for improvement.

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet spokesperson for Corporate Services, said: “We’ve recently launched Town Spirit, which is all about people working together to achieve more. These volunteers are leading the way by already owning it.”

Employment figures are in great shape, as the council’s work with the private sector has created 712 jobs since April – with 244 of these in quarter two. Since April, 23 companies have chosen to locate in Barnsley, creating 112 new jobs and securing almost £10.6m of private sector investment.

The council has exceeded its target for improving employment opportunities for residents with learning disabilities and some 62.5 per cent of care leavers are in employment education or training, which is higher than regional and national averages.

Cllr Gardiner said: “We continue to deliver on our promise to support the creation of more jobs and good business growth. This will ensure that there are more job opportunities for Barnsley residents to help grow the local economy, and reduce the amount of worklessness and poverty across the borough.”

Work towards developing a vibrant town centre is paying off. Town centre footfall was 11 per cent higher between July and September than in the same period last year. The opening of the new Meat and Fish Market contributed to this, along with other great town centre events such as Dancing Town. This drew in almost 5,000 people over two weeks. The “Bears!” exhibition at the Cooper Gallery also attracted younger visitors and their parents.

Over 670,000 people have visited Barnsley’s attractions since April, contributing to an estimated £14.4 million to the local economy.

The borough was also beamed around the world thanks to Barnsley hosting the criterium cycle races, which saw highlights of the race broadcast by ITV4 and Eurosport, with over 120,000 viewers.

The council is working hard to help children, young people and families reach their potential, which is having a positive effect on outcomes.

The proportion of Barnsley 10 to 17 year olds entering the youth justice system has fallen significantly. The rate per 100,000 fell to 239 between July 2017 and June 2018. Performance is now better than with national and South Yorkshire comparators.

There was also a reduction in the amount of anti-social behaviour incidents recorded – some 1,270, which is a reduction of 27 per cent compared to last year’s figures.  This is in part thanks to better engagement and education with those recording incidents.

It has also been good news for the #EverybodyThink campaign as flytipping on council land continues to fall. The figure has reduced by almost seven per cent compared with the same time last year. Some 96 percent of fly tipping was cleared within seven days.

Cllr Gardiner said: “It’s recognised that there’s still more work to do, and we have challenges ahead, but this report shows we’re working hard to make Barnsley a better place to work and live.”

The full report is available to view online at www.barnsley.gov.uk/performance

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