What and why are we asking your views ?

Woughton Community Council provides a range of services and support to the 14,500 people living within the parish, alongside the hundreds of people who work, attend school and visit the parish every day. 

It has been a difficult year for many. The impact of Coronavirus means people have been furloughed, made redundant, found themselves working from home and has meant we haven’t been able to visit friends or family, go away, have birthdays, weddings or other celebrations or many other things. We hope that this will get better next year.

It has also been a difficult year for finances. People have been ‘furloughed’, reducing income in some cases, we have seen redundancies within the parish and the city and all these things have led to some residents finding things harder. For us, the closure of community centres meant Woughton Community Council lost a major source of income. Whilst they are now back open for some groups, this is not enough to make up six months of no income. In addition, we have had to make all our centres, workplaces, vehicles and services ‘covid compliant’, with additional safety measures being put in place. Despite making cuts to services, reducing expenditure and having a freeze on recruitment, these losses mean that it is likely that at the end of 2020/21, rather than seeing a balanced budget, we will face some significant financial losses.

Next year doesn’t look much better. Some of you will know that we receive additional funding because of the number of people within Woughton who don’t pay council tax and for the low level of house bandings within the area. This situation means is that we do not receive the level of funding that is fair, despite being a parish that provides so much. To try and balance this, there is some funding that comes to parishes like Woughton to help manage this gap between what should be and what actually is funded. This funding is likely to be removed from April, meaning almost 20% of our income disappears. Whilst we will continue to campaign for fairer funding for Woughton, we will still need to make sure we are financially responsible.

These issues alongside the usual annual increases in costs mean 2021/22 will see changes. Those changes depend a lot on you, your views and what you value most from Woughton Community Council. We know this in previous years, you have said that landscaping, litter and fly-tipping, youth and advice services and dog bins are all important – is this still the case? Are there other things that you want to see us provide? Is the Festival and the other events we provide something that is important to you? Do you like getting a copy of The Gazette? Should we continue to support our Resident Associations and local groups through grant funding? What are the most important things?

Included in this issue is an ‘Annual Review’ that gives an overview of what we did last year. This shows the value of each part of our service so you can make an informed decision about what matters. Some of our services affect everyone – landscaping covers the whole parish, for example. Others are used by fewer people, but are essential for them – our advice service supports a few hundred people each year, but has helped bring in extra money, stopped people from becoming homeless and helped ensure people are safe and supported. Different things matter to different people.

We would really like as many of you as possible to have your say – it doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 95 – this is YOUR parish and your views matter. So please, please do take a few minutes to give us your views, comments or ideas so that we can try and make sure we do the things that matter most to you.

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* 1. Which estate do you live / work on?

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* 2. Of our current services, which do you think are important? Tick all that apply

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* 3. And of those services, which have you used or benefited from over the past year? Tick all that apply

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* 4. As explained above, we may need to reduce our services due to reduced funding. If this did happen, what should we prioritise? Which are most important to you? (tick no more than three).

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* 5. As discussed, simply to stand still, some precept increase is likely to be necessary. We always aim to keep this as small as possible - we know that any increase has an effect on household budgets. So what is a reasonable increase, if any?

A 5% increase would mean an additional £6 per year / 50p per month / 12p per week for most people

a 7% increase would mean an additional £8.60 per year / 72p per month / 17p per week

A 10% increase would mean an additional £12 per year / £1 per month / 24p per week

All these figures are based on 95% of our households (Band A or B). Figures for higher band properties would be slightly more (Band D would be £1.43 per month / 33p per week at 10% increase).

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* 6. Are there other things that you would like to see Woughton Community Council provide? Please let us know your ideas, views or feelings below. 

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* 7. If you are happy to do so, please let us know a little bit about you....

What age bracket do you fit into?

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* 8. And what is your gender?

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* 9. Many thanks for completing this survey. We will publish the results in the next edition of The Gazette.
If there is anything else you would like to tell us about, please pop it in the box below. 

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