This year we held local elections for our district, and renewed the council’s Cooperative alliance with our Green and Liberal Democrat colleagues.
Here are some headlines of what your district council has done since the start of 2021.
We kept essential services going throughout the pandemic, as well as targeting support for people and businesses who needed it most.
Neighbourhood wardens checked up on people during lockdowns.
We extended the council tax hardship fund to take an extra £150 off bills for those finding it hardest to pay.
Since the pandemic began we’ve paid out almost £46 million in Government business grant and spent £20,000 to strengthen community hubs across the district.
We adopted a new five year Council Plan, prioritising environment, communities, housing, health and wellbeing, and the local economy including a commitment to spend more of the council’s money locally.
Inspired and challenged by Black Lives Matter in 2020, we adopted an Equality, diversity and inclusion plan to reduce inequality in our district.
Recruited community representatives to help advise on the sensitive review of the Blackboy Clock in Stroud, and also to a new panel on climate action, putting the community’s voice at the heart of decisions that matter.
Adopted an ambitious plan to radically reduce our district’s carbon emissions and become carbon neutral by 2030 including putting extra resources into enhancing local biodiversity.
Made a national shortlist as a council that showed outstanding leadership in responding to the climate emergency.
Set up a Walking and Cycling Group and invested extra funds into improving Active Travel.
Installed a water source heat pump at Ebley Mill to reduce carbon emissions and save on fuel bills.
Began a £5.3 million programme to build 36 new homes in Nailsworth, Minchinhampton and Eastington.
Agreed a £180 million investment over the next 30 years to reduce the carbon footprint of our 5000 council homes, reducing emissions as well as tenants fuel bills.
Won a £1m government grant to fund the ‘deep retrofit’ of 28 council houses.
AND led a consortium of seven local councils to win more than £5 million to tackle fuel poverty in hundreds of households across Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.
AND won a further £421,000 grant to support our £10 million building programme for 49 new homes in Wotton-under-Edge, Ebley, Dursley and Cam.
Renewed our Community Wellbeing Grant and launched the Lucky Severn Community Lottery, raising more than £50,000 for 81 local charities and community groups.
Organised free holiday activities for thousands of children.
Set up a Food Justice Group to tackle local hunger.
Our animal welfare team won the RSPCA Gold Award in the stray dogs category for the 8th year running.
Put £300,000 into Economic Development, with a strategy focussing on the green economy, skills, community wealth building and key sectors like tourism, manufacturing and the arts.
Commissioned a new Canal Strategy and progressed with our partners on the latest stage of the regeneration of the Stroudwater Canal, with the new Ocean railway bridge being installed right now.
Ran a shop local campaign to support our high street and allocated extra funding to support tourism in our market towns.
And started work on our levelling up bid to transform Stroud as a gateway town for the district.
Secured nearly £1m from government to support brownfield regeneration and flood alleviation at Brimscombe Port and to fund retrofitting publically owned buildings across Stroud.
Adopted a twenty year Strategy to improve health and well being for everyone in the district, starting with a focus on physical and mental health recovery following the pandemic.
Kept people healthy during lockdowns with the Pulse in Dursley running virtual fitness classes, lunchtime workouts, and waterless swimming lessons.
Started the process of bringing the Stratford Park contract back into public ownership.
And with all this, kept the council finances in good order, investing in, not cutting, services.
In our annual survey of local businesses and residents this year, 75% of local residents and 70% of local businesses are satisfied with how Stroud District Council runs things, well above the national average.
So despite the challenges we faced in 2021, thanks to your support we have achieved all this and more.
I look forward to 2022 and hope, with your help, that we can keep up the good work next year.