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New City Council vision will improve everyone’s wellbeing

Published: Friday, 17th May 2024

City council leaders have approved a strategy on how the authority will work over the next four years to improve the wellbeing of residents through a series of key commitments.

Our City, Our Wellbeing sets out a new vision and set of priorities to improve the quality of life of residents, supporting businesses and communities across the board.

The strategy highlights seven key themes to contribute to improved community wellbeing:

  1. Healthier: Creating a healthier standard of living for all residents.
  2. Wealthier: Reducing hardship and enabling greater shared prosperity.
  3. Safer: Building empowered communities, safe from the threat of harm.
  4. Greener: Conserving our environment and living more sustainably.
  5. Cleaner: Working together to clean up our city and our communities.
  6. Fairer: Tackling inequality and improving life chances for everyone.
  7. Skilled: Providing opportunities for people to improve their skills and education.

The strategy sets out how the council will invest in and deliver services that support the city, and places significance on working with communities, other public services, businesses and other agencies to best use Stoke-on-Trent’s collective resources.

The five big programmes are:

Supporting Family Life: working with the NHS, community groups and others to help families ensure a better start in life for their children through improved housing, education, increased income, and community support.

Reclaiming our streets and public spaces: help residents regain pride in our streets and public places by taking a strict approach towards those who want to harm our local environment through anti-social actions, graffiti and vandalism or illegal rubbish dumping.

Addressing hardship and poverty: support those who have the least, help them find better jobs and higher wages, maximise welfare benefits, deal with debt, and make sure they have a decent home.

Ensuring decent homes for all: use our influence and strong partnerships to solve ongoing problems like fuel poverty, dampness, and mould, and to help people achieve their housing goals, including owning a home.

Supporting people to live independently: support people with physical and learning disabilities, long-term mental health conditions and those who are frail to live in our communities rather than in institutional care.

Delivery of the Corporate Strategy is already under way, with a pipeline of major projects expected to boost jobs, skills, enterprise and opportunity:

  • The Goods Yard in Stoke is on track for completion in Spring 2025 with the potential to create over 230 jobs and provide 180 quality apartments as well as offices, retail and hospitality space.
  • A fresh approach to Spode Works will grow a burgeoning cluster of creative and digital businesses and help top revitalise Stoke town.
  • The arrival of the Home Office is creating 500 new jobs in the Smithfield business district.
  • Approximately 300 new homes will be built at the cleared Etruscan Square site with scope for commercial and leisure opportunities.
  • New enterprise spaces, including at Spode, Longton Town Hall and Smithfield, are creating clusters of complementary businesses and nurturing start-ups.
  • Investment in transport improvements, including new and better bus services and redevelopment of the area around Stoke Railway Station, will transform connectivity throughout the city.
  • The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery will be redesigned to showcase world-class collections and underscore the city’s status as an international cultural visitor destination.
  • Work is under way to secure exciting and sustainable new uses for the stunning Wedgwood Institute and Burslem Market building.

Council leader Jane Ashworth said: “When I became council leader of the council this time last year, I knew we were facing an uphill climb. We didn’t waste a moment and began by tackling some of the big issues we know affect many families across the city.

“This strategy isn’t just about what we think, we have consulted with residents, staff members and local partners to ensure we tackle the main issues our city is facing.

“It has been developed at a time of financial uncertainty where we are facing huge demands for social care services. We are investing in a new preventative approach which aims to spot and tackle potential problems earlier, before they get really bad and require more drastic actions. Investing in prevention and early intervention services is likely to save taxpayers’ money over time and work out a lot better for local people.

“We know that everyone wants to live in a decent home. Our DAMP campaign was launched and we are now dealing with hundreds of enquiries every month to ensure that families are living in good conditions in their council homes. Not only were council homes in need of urgent attention, but our streets were suffering too. We cleaned up our city in 100 days and doubled down on the dirty streets, alleys, roads and wasteland, by getting tough on fly-tipping. We share intelligence with the police to see where crimes are being reported and what causes these crimes in the first place. Our joint campaign with Staffordshire Police, Making Great Places, aims to ‘reclaim our streets’ from those who terrorise the innocent.

“We want family life to be the cornerstone of our city, where children can play and grow up proud of the place they call home. Our family hubs are launched to give everyone access to the best advice and support to help family life thrive, whether it’s education, finances, creative classes or adults’ skills.

“Our older folk have told us they want to live independently for longer and we are working hard to bring together a portfolio of support that will help achieve this ambition. We want those who are able to stay at home, to live longer with their family and friends around them with the right help and support. We know we can achieve this together and help deliver a good quality of life for our senior citizens.

“The cost of living is bearing down hard on all of us as we try to keep our books balanced in an increasingly challenging environment. Not only has the council faced with some incredible financial challenges over this past year; our residents are feeling the full force of rising prices too. It’s for this reason we are re-launching our Help is at Hand campaign again next month to help everyone with the cost of living crisis.

“The health and wellbeing of our people is our primary aim. We will continue on this path until all our residents can enjoy a good quality of life and continue to care for one another.”

Residents can read the new corporate strategy at www.stoke.gov.uk/ourcityourwellbeing