Funding for community services in Andover could be severely cut or removed due to cuts at Hampshire County Council.
Austerity measures and “demographic changes” are blamed for the Council’s potential budget shortfall of £140 million by 2019.
Hampshire County Council is responsible for 81% of local government spending in the county, including education, roads, waste disposal and social care for vulnerable adults and children.
Local voluntary organisation Test Valley Community Services (TVCS) which provides community transport, health and youth services in the area is encouraging Andover residents to respond to the Council’s consultation and make their views known.
TVCS Chief Executive Terry Bishop says, “The consultation asks for views on the potential funding cuts which may affect children and young people in the borough. They’re also asking for thoughts on the provision of bus services and community transport for the elderly and disabled.”
The consultation asks for comments on the reduction or wholesale removal of its funding for transport services. In the report, the council agrees that potential impacts could be that “some areas may lose public transport services” and “residents… may become more reliant on private transport options”.
TVCS currently provides Dial-A-Ride, accessible care and shopmobility services to residents in the Test Valley. The charity also provides a training and informal education project which helps young people at risk of experiencing problems such as drugs and alcohol abuse, mental health and confidence issues.
Mrs Bishop continues, “The council is asking for views on how best to balance its budget. Feedback from people in and around Andover will help inform them of the approach they could take.”
The report says that the County Council has “done its best to minimise the impact on frontline services and keep Council Tax low. Any changes to specific services will be subject to further, more detailed consultation”.
Earlier this year Hampshire County Council withdrew its funding from youth facility ‘The Junction’ in Andover.