It has been a full year since voters chose our team in local elections, and I want to use this opportunity to celebrate our successes.
Our team have brought a fresh approach to local government in your area, so here is a brief summary… We have helped almost two thousand low-income households cope with the cost-of-living crisis by distributing direct payments.
Together with the Welsh Government we have welcomed hundreds of Ukrainian refugees: local hosts have offered homes to double the expected number and are also well down the line to become a county of sanctuary.
We’ve delivered summer play provision, supporting twelve thousand children and rolled out free school meals in primary schools ahead of schedule. We have recruited more foster carers and introduced an inclusion service for vulnerable children.
Our disabled adaptation service has brought waiting times down to below six months.
We’ve approved a plan to make homelessness brief, rare and unrepeated and to move away from using bed & breakfast hotels by buying and building more temporary and permanent affordable homes. We’ve increased Social Housing Grant spending four-fold–from £1.2m to £5.1m–and will bring forward many more affordable homes.
We secured Welsh Government Active Travel funding of £3.4m for the financial year 22/23 with the aim of reducing everyday car journeys, making walking, cycling and wheeling the easiest option.
For the many people dependent on public transport we have brought in a new contractor with more modern low-emission vehicles and have plans for a more sustainable bus network.
We have worked with full range of partners to establish a new river catchment partnership for the Usk, and re-invigorated the approach for the Wye.
We have secured investment for local projects and have more in the pipeline. Projects include improving visitor attractions; improving river health and country parks; working to design out crime; and the establishment of a Monmouthshire
We’ve delivered exciting and innovative exhibitions in all our museums, and secured funding to relocate the Monmouth Museum, for projects and events for young people, and of course the recent purchase of the Turner painting of Chepstow’s Wye bridge and castle.
We have also reopened the Borough Theatre making it a cultural hub in Abergavenny for wonderful performances of music, theatre, drama and art.
Me and my team look forward to continuing to deliver on your priorities.