Three services provided by Cheshire East Council have been shortlisted for national Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards.
The awards recognise high-performing councils which are striving to continually improve frontline services.
The Cheshire East Carers’ Hub has been shortlisted in the ‘best health and wellbeing initiative’ category. The Hub was launched in early 2018 providing a single point of access for information, advice and guidance for the estimated 40,000 carers across Cheshire East, including a 24-hour ‘help and talk’ line and access to funded breaks. Over the past year, additional Carers have been identified and supported as a result of the easier methods of accessing help and a wider variety of support services available to carers to better meet their individual needs and those of the loved ones they care for.
Cllrs Janet Clowes and Jos Saunders were the Cabinet Members who had responsibility for overseeing the development of the Carers Hub.
Cllr Clowes explained “This initiative was designed in partnership with our health partners and partners from the Voluntary, Charitable and Faith sectors. It was developed to create a more user-friendly way for Carers to get the help they need to fulfil their carer role. We conducted a thorough consultation with providers, and more importantly with carers themslves, to make sure that any new system would work for them in ways that they wanted!”
Cllr Saunders further explained “Having a single point of contact has meant that accessing support for carers is so much simpler and has avoided duplication of services which so often happened in the past. For me, one of the most exciting results of this initiative is that the Hub has identified and is supporting an increasing number of ‘Young Carers’ - an especially vulnerable group that we wanted to access and help more effectively”.
Cheshire East Connected Communities Centres have been shortlisted in the ‘best community and neighbourhood initiative’ category. Around 40 centres across the borough offer a wider range of activities and support services to reduce social isolation and enable local people to experience greater wellbeing. The first centres were developed in late 2017 and over the course of 2018 and early 2019 additional centres, supported by the Cheshire East Communities Teams. Each one is unique to the communities they serve.
Cllrs Liz Wardlaw and Janet Clowes (Cabinet Members who had responsibility for the Connected Communities Centres initiative) oversaw the development of the project from the development of the Communities Strategy through the opening of pilot centres and the subsequent escalation for the opening of the full complement of centres. Cllr Wardlaw said: “This is a wonderful means of recognising the hard work of the CE Communities Team bringing forward this initiative but just as importantly the hard work and determination of local community groups and volunteers to create local activities and support systems to meet the needs of their individual communities.”
The Crewe Green Roundabout improvement scheme was a key project in an ambitious £320m programme of highways works across the Borough, designed to free up capacity, ease congestion and pave the way for economic growth ahead of the opening of the planned HS2 Hub in Crewe in 2027. The roundabout scheme, which was completed in early 2019, was shortlisted in the ‘service team of the year (highways, winter maintenance and street lighting)’ category.
Cllr Rachel Bailey (Previous Leader of Council) and Cllr Don Stockton (Cabinet Member for Highways) officially opened the roundabout in November 2018. Cllr Stockton said “We are delighted with these improvements and the feedback that we have received from road users who have reported significantly improved journey times.”
Cllr Bailey commented; “The success of the new roundabout helps to ensure that Crewe has the right infrastructure in place as we push ahead with ambitious plans to transform Crewe and become HS2 ready.“I would like to thank the project team for their efforts to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum and for delivering a scheme that is clearly of national note!”