HRG Survey September and October 2017

Understanding residents’ views on expenditure priorities

At the beginning of September, Henley Residents Group surveyed[1] Henley residents for their view on priorities for grant funding by Henley Town Council. Over 120 residents[2] responded.
As Councillors Ian Reissmann and Jane Smewing said in their introduction to the survey “funding decisions made by Oxfordshire County Council (and other bodies) have meant some services for Henley Residents paid for by the County face being cut back” and they asked for views on how the Town Council how they should pay for the costs of these extra grants, if the Town Council decided to cover any deficiencies.

Whilst 26% said they were not prepared to pay any increase on the current precept on Band D households paid to the Town Council (£87 per household each year – £1.67 per week), the overall response indicated a willingness to pay a weighted average increase[3] of £6.27 per household (12p per week). Women were willing to pay slightly more than men and the younger[4] slightly less.

Also the survey asked for views on what should be the top two and the bottom two priorities[5] for funding from the Town Council over the next two years.

Overwhelmingly, the top two priorities were seen to be “care for disadvantaged local children and young people” (with nearly 55% in favour) and “provision for those local residents with mental health issues (all ages including dementia)” (with nearly 53% in favour). However, women were more favourable towards these two priorities than men, some of whom were inclined to support educational, museum and sports activities (with the younger generation also being more inclined to support sporting activities).

The bottom two priorities were also overwhelmingly seen to be grants for “arts activities” and for “sports activities”. These priorities were of a similar ranking for male and female respondents and for younger and older respondents, although the younger respondents were less inclined to be unfavourable to them than the older respondents, and saw “support for local buses” as featuring as one of the “bottom two priorities” along with “arts and sports activities”.

Respondents were able to make their own comments if they wished. These included “Henley is in desperate need of facilities”; “Unless they are helped, disadvantaged people will continue to be disadvantaged”; “Provision for mental health appears to be limited but much needed”; “Our youth are our future”; “Parking and rubbish collection” ; “Less spending on flowers, more spending on people”; “Make sure our young people stay around Henley”; and “Money allocated to improve pavements and roads on Gainsborough – Henley should not forget its communities include those on lower incomes”. There was also one respondent that asked “Who is Oxford County Council” which highlights that Henley’s funding comes from, three councils – the County, South Oxfordshire and Henley Town, with differing responsibilities for each.

Councillors Reissmann and Smewing commented that “We wanted to hear residents’ views about their priorities for grant making – there has been inadequate consultation with residents in the past. Their views are all the more important given the cuts in grants being made by the County which affect some organisations in Henley. The Town Council needs to consider whether it could fund some of the organisations suffering these cuts, and if it were to do so, how it could fund these grants. The survey is a helpful tool for us in making these decisions”.

Issued by David Feary on behalf of Henley Residents’ GroupContact 07813 400803
24th October 2017

 

Notes for editors:

  1. The survey was undertaken online https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdv_MoMVZuDF1lBA30FrCKqWklm_SNPzQ4CoTavg39JK44dNQ/viewform and was communicated by social media including emails. Responses were split roughly 50% each for men and women.
  2. 123 residents responded by 23rd October, out of an electorate of 8,742 (1. 4%).By comparison, Yougov’s national survey by on 21st August 2017, enquiring who the British electorate thought would make the best Prime Minister, was based on 1,664 respondents (out of a national electorate of around 46 million (0.004%). A previous survey by HRG in March/April 2017 received around 60 responses.
  3. The response options per annum were “No increase at all”, “£1”, “£2-10” and “£11-20”.
  4. Age options were “18-30”, “31-45”, “46-59” and “more than 60”. “Younger” is classified as “18-45”and “older” “46 and above”.
  5. The alternatives for priorities were “Grants to local sporting activities”, “Provision for local elderly residents’ social activities”, “Grants for local educational, library or museum services”, “Care for disadvantaged local children and young people”, “Support for local bus services”, “Grants to local arts activities” and “Provision for those local residents with mental health issues (all ages including dementia)”

Summary Press release – 24th October 2017

Henley residents willing to provide an extra £6 per annum for grants

In September and October Henley residents were surveyed for their view on priorities for grant funding by Henley Town Council. Over 120 residents responded.

Sponsors of the survey, Henley Residents Group Councillors Ian Reissmann and Jane Smewing introduced the survey, saying “funding decisions made by Oxfordshire County Council (and other bodies) have meant some services for Henley Residents paid for by the County face being cut back”. They asked for views on how the Town Council how they should pay for the costs of these extra grants, if the Town Council decided to cover any deficiencies.

The overall response indicated a willingness to pay a weighted average increase[1] of £6.27 per household (12p per week), against the current precept on Band D households paid to the Town Council (£87 per household each year – £1.67 per week).

Respondents’ views on what should be the priorities[2] for funding from the Town Council over the next two years showed that overwhelmingly, the top two priorities were seen to be “care for disadvantaged local children and young people” and “provision for those local residents with mental health issues (all ages including dementia)”. The bottom two priorities were grants for “arts activities” and for “sports activities”. There were slightly differing views based on the gender and age of the respondents.

Respondents were able to make their own comments if they wished. These included “Henley is in desperate need of facilities”; “Unless they are helped, disadvantaged people will continue to be disadvantaged”; and “Provision for mental health appears to be limited but much needed”.

Councillors Reissmann and Smewing commented “We wanted to hear residents’ views about their priorities for grant making – there has been inadequate consultation with residents in the past. Their views are all the more important given the cuts in grants being made by the County which affect some organisations in Henley. The Town Council needs to consider whether it could fund some of the organisations suffering these cuts, and if it were to do so, how it could fund these grants. The survey is a helpful tool for us in making these decisions”.

Issued by David Feary on behalf of Henley Residents’ Group – contact 07813 400803
30th October 2017

 

Listening & Doing! Newsletter – Autumn 2017

Girl at Henley Skate Park

In May HRG gained control of Henley Town Council with far reaching plans to help improve Henley – reflecting what we had heard from residents. This newsletter describes the actions with which HRG has been involved since the turn of the year, and those still “work in progress”.

Our achievements so far in 2017

Improving Henley’s….By….
Amenities• reopening Henley‘s Children’s Centre as the Family Centre at D2 following closure due to OCC budget cuts.

• bringing Street Angels to Henley - now funded and seeking volunteers

• setting up a task force which has successfully cleared business waste and litter from the streets

• achieving another Green Flag award for the Meadows

• creating a wonderful Bee theme to get the town buzzing

• providing shaded areas in the toddler park. to enable all small children (especially babies) to sit in the shade with parents.
Recreation activities• opening the new skate park after a six year long battle - now SO popular!

• holding the first ever open-air Civic Service

• holding the Mayor’s Party in the Park

• celebrating Borama Comes to Henley

• successfully returning the Henley May Fayre to the town square
Infrastructure• mapping every road pot hole, and overgrown vegetation – with improvement actions agreed with the County including resurfacing Harpsden Road

Our work in progress for the next 12 months

Improving Henley’s…By…
Amenities• providing adult gym equipment for Makins, refurbishment of the Makins and Freemans playgrounds, and new signage for Mill Meadows
Recreation activities• completely transforming the Christmas Festival to make it a more enjoyable event for local residents
Infrastructure• overcoming withdrawal of County funding for local buses and improving the service

• improving air quality – plans for improved walking and cycling routes, greening Henley, and vehicle pollution
Youth engagement• monthly Mayor’s meetings with student leadership

And our future challenges

The County Council has cut funding for many local organisations that previously received grants from the County. Wherever financially feasible the Town Council will endeavour to provide support to those organisations that are affected.  If you would like to share your views on which organisations are your priorities for funding, please visit our Town Council Priorities Survey.

A big thank you!

We recognise we can only achieve these actions with the support of all the Town Council staff and all the Councillors – in conjunction with the residents and organisations that live or operate in Henley. So thank you for your help – and keep telling us what you think should change for the better in Henley.

Be a supporter

If you would like to support HRG in its activities, please contact support@hrg.org.uk  for details of the various ways in which you can do so.