Budget - people
Supporting the NHS
Throughout the year our support for the NHS has continued with a focus on getting people vaccinated. Our venues have hosted vaccine clinics, including drop in sessions, allowing thousands more people to get their first, second and booster vaccines and give themselves the best protection possible against COVID-19. Wyre has consistently had one of the highest vaccine rates in the county and we are proud to have played our part in that.
We have invested £1.5 million of funding into our leisure centres to support and reopen all of them following their closure due to the pandemic and have since welcomed members old and new. We continue to promote the excellent facilities on offer in Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton and Garstang and encourage communities to support their local leisure facilities.
Over 63% of adults in Wyre are classed as being overweight or obese. To help people reduce their health risks and improve wellbeing, we have launched two new weight management programmes.
We have relaunched our Healthier Wyre and Great Outdoors activity programme offering a wide range of activities for people of all ages and abilities, many of which are free. From guided cycle rides and cycling courses for beginners, to walks, singing groups, art sessions, nature workshops and specialist activities for people living with dementia there’s something for everyone and we’re delighted to have these back up and running with new things in the calendar for 2022.
We launched our Citizen Access Portal in July 2021 which allows Wyre residents and businesses access to services online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will enable those who sign up to receive electronic bills, which is better for the environment, book services, check the payments they have made to Wyre for Council Tax, report local issues and track their progress. We have over 26,000 users signed up already.
Protecting vulnerable residents
We have committed, for the tenth year running, to protect our most vulnerable residents by limiting the contribution to the localised council tax support scheme for those previously on full benefit to 8.5%, which is significantly lower than neighbouring local authorities.
Citizens Advice will continue to receive funding from Wyre at the same level to support their free debt advice service, which helps those affected by welfare reforms, and we will continue to deliver a care and repair service which offers free advice and support to both the over 60's and disabled people.
The Household Support Fund launched in January and we have distributed tens of thousands of pounds already to those on low incomes to support fuel poverty.
Following the government’s announcement in February, the council will be pivotal in delivering the Energy Bill Rebate scheme with payments of £150 to households in council tax bands A to D expected to commence early in the new financial year. We are encouraging residents to sign up to direct debit to help speed up these payments.