For the last few months, the Cabinet have been working on draft proposals for the 2015 till 2018/19 budget. The message has been clear from the Council in that it will have to find a huge amount of savings. The eye-watering amount of £196m will have to be found from the Council’s budget in the next four-years. This is on top of the £170m previously saved. I have said it before, and I will say it again, services provided by the Council will change, and in some cases stop.


A £196m is an awful lot of money to have to save, and a lot of work has already been done to reach this target. Some of the saving to date have been achieved by a new agreement with staff on pay and a large-scale restructuring of senior management. Even with these and other saving already taken into account, the Council still has to find a further £156m. The reason for the saving lays firmly at the feet of the Government. As they have cut the grants to the Council to the tune of £89m in cash terms. When you add in inflation, demographic changes and demand, you get the final saving figure.

However, the Council would not be in such a difficult position if the Government treated Cornwall the same as the average urban council. If Cornwall Council was treated equally, then the Council would receive and extra £48m per year. It still would require savings, but not at the level the Council is now facing.

In the past budget reduction have been delivered pro-rata across the directorates. This method of ‘salami slicing’ cannot continue as we cannot afford to cut equal chunks off every service.  This time the Cabinet with information and intelligence gathered have produced a set of priorities for this budget. These areas were seen an important and have been protected from the worst areas of cuts.

The priorities are:

  • Services to the most vulnerable in society
  • the public transport budget
  • road repairs and maintenance

Of course some of the proposals contained within the budget will not be popular. This is why since the launch of the draft budget yesterday, the Cabinet and the Council wants to hear your views and suggestions. The message is clear, we are listening.  There will be a series of 20 public events held for the public to give their views. You can even give your views via an online form HERE. This budget will also go through the full democratic process and nothing will be decided until the budget is debated and voted on in November.  Of course before you give your views and suggestions, you will want to read the draft budget. This can be found HERE.

In a break from ‘tradition’ all draft budget papers are public, there are no ‘pink papers’ (restricted) as everything is out in the open for the public, staff, and media to see. This is important, as this Cabinet has always prided itself on being open and transparent in its business and by putting all the documentation out in the public arena will also show the difficult task ahead.

It is now your turn to give your views….

It was that time of year again when Porthleven held its annual torchlight parade. This parade was once part of the now defunct Gala Week, but was re-introduced by the late Ann Miners over 10 years ago. Now, the parade is organised by the Porthleven Community Group. This years event was to help raise money for the new skate park and Cornwall Hospice.


A few of the members of the Porthleven Community Group selling torches. Left to right – Rob (chairman), Tim, Becci and me

Leading up to the event, the weather was pretty awful. But being hardy souls, the community group decided to go ahead and hope (crossed fingers, pray and do a jig) that there would be a break in the weather for the parade to have dry weather. It worked, as for the parade the weather remained dry.  There was also a slight worry as with 30 mins to go, we still had not sold that many torches, but suddenly out of nowhere people appeared and wanted to buy torches. In the short space of time, the group sold all but 100 or so of the 500 torches.

The parade set of led by the Porthleven Town Band,  the Mayor of Porthleven Daniel Williams and Deputy Mayor Barbara Powell which were followed by hundreds of people. I was just amazed at how many people took part in the parade. For every torch, there was at least two / three people accompanying it. It was fantastic to see not only the residents of Porthleven take part, but holiday makers too. It was a real community event and something Porthleven should be very proud of.

The event would not have been such a success if it was not for the Porthleven Community Group. Huge credit and thanks should be given to the group who again organised this – and other events -  in Porthleven. Thanks should also be given Suzie at Four Crows Gallery for helping with the pre-sales, Porthleven Town Band, the Mayor and Porthleven Town Council for their support, the Harbour Inn and Coastline Housing for their continued support to the group.


The parade as it makes it way along the harbour



Two years in to a three year programme and Cornwall’s Together for Families partnership (Gov calls it Troubled Families) has been praised for its work in turning around the lives of over 600 families with the most complex needs. Cornwall Council with its partners has supported 614 families during this period.

Families who meet the criteria for the programme are offered additional support from a range of partner agencies from across the area.

Helping families includes:

  • children are back in school for three consecutive terms where they were previously truant or excluded
  • high levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour have been significantly reduced
  • and/or adults that were on benefits have been in work for at least three months
  • Cornwall’s partnership, which includes Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Health commissioners, Probation, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Education Welfare, Youth Offending team, Careers South West and representatives of the voluntary and community sector (including Action for Children and Addaction), was set up in 2012 following the launch of the programme.

    The bigger picture is 52,833 of the most troubled families in England had been put back on track by local authority teams since April 2012.

    The aim of the three year national programme, which was launched by Prime Minister in March 2012, is to support local organisations, which are working with families identified as having the most complex needs. Under the programme key workers work with families to identify the support they need to address their problems and then help them to access a package of both mainstream and specialist support.

    Local partnerships can apply for up to £4,000 of funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government for each family they successfully support to change their behaviour. This funding is allocated in two phases – an up front fee and a “payments by results” part which is dependent on providing evidence of positive achievements.

    For me it is critical that we work with the families directly with our partner agencies by helping the families overcome the difficulties they face. The results of this programme shows that tackling the issues as a family unit works and helps achieve positive outcomes.

    Another success of the programme is many key people and organisations have come together to help families. That in its self is a huge success.

    Further information on the Together for Families Programme, which is designed to deliver the national ‘Troubled Families’ Agenda, is available HERE

    Cast you minds back to  2012 when the Council announced details of the New Deal for Young People which included the Cornwall Higher Education (HE) scheme – Brighter Cornwall. The scheme proposed supporting more students from Cornwall to progress into HE and into employment.

    This scheme was designed in response to an identified need, where fewer students from Cornwall progress into HE compared with national averages in addition to addressing clear skills gaps in some of our priority sectors for Cornwall’s economic growth. Both of these issues remain a strategic priority in 2014 and beyond

    The scheme was developed on the basis of securing funding from the 2014 European Strategic Investment Fund, but due to delays from Government, we are still in the process of shaping the activity that will be funded through the EU programme. The Council did, however, commit to running a pilot project in 2014 which involved offering a small number of Scholarships with partner universities and a pilot undergraduate work placement scheme with partners, Unlocking Potential.

    Brighter Cornwall launches today, Friday, 15 August after A-Level students have received their results. I am really pleased that the Council is launching this first phase of the Brighter Cornwall scheme. Higher level skills are vital for the growth of Cornwall’s economy and through Brighter Cornwall we want to promote great career opportunities that young people can return to.

    We know that good employability skills and work experience are important factors in securing a job in a competitive market and Brighter Cornwall provides students with a great opportunity to get this experience before they graduate through paid placements during the holidays. I want to encourage students and our local business to take part in Brighter Cornwall and sign up through the website

    The programme will provide undergraduates with vital work experience and networking opportunities with local businesses, enabling them to make connections that can lead to careers, long before graduation. Brighter Cornwall complements the existing offer for graduates and will also help to encourage the higher level skills required for economic growth back into the County.

    Students need to sign up and log their contact details for more information on the opportunities available to them. Please take a look at the below link to find out more about Brighter Cornwall. We would also like your help to promote sign up to the programme by both students and local businesses who may be willing to offer an undergraduate a work placements as part of the scheme. So please spread the word.

    More details can be found here –

    In 2013 Porthleven CIC was successful in obtaining grant funding for a number of new community assets including the up-lighting of the Bickford Smith Institute, a town trail, a community marquee and funds to develop more car parking. The funds and their method of draw down have been confirmed and we are now able to progress these projects.

    One of the first projects is to source a community marquee.

    Although it was initially envisaged that one large marquee would be preferable, there have been a number of requests for different structures which may be more widely suitable for Porthleven, its traders and community groups. This document is aimed at collecting these views and identifying the most suitable items to source.

    It may be that a variety of gazebos, small marquees etc. will be the best and most useful overall solution and, subject to having well documented consultation with the potential user groups, the available funds (approx. £36,000) could be spent on a range of items.

    It is envisaged that the equipment purchased would then be hired at a relatively small community charge (to cover costs of handling, putting up etc. and maintenance – Porthleven CIC is a not for profit community interest company) significantly lowering the cost of events etc. and thereby encouraging more community and business activity in Porthleven. The marquees will also be available for commercial hire too. The revenue from the marquee hire, will be used for community based projects.

    The following pages and pictures identify possible marquee and gazebos types which could be purchased, and we would like community groups and businesses to review these options and let us know which types of structure would be preferred.

    The plan is to purchase one of the classic marquees for larger events, plus a series of the other smaller marquee / gazebos to give the CIC a greater flexibility for hiring. I have added a poll after the pictures in which you can vote for two options.

    The options are:





    The Poll

    Which type of structure should we source?

    View Results

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    You can also email me your preferences. There will also be a paper-copy delivered to businesses and community groups in the next week or so. If you want this questionnaire electronically, drop me a message / email / tweet

    The MMO has today made the announcement that Porthleven will receive a total of £501,177.47 to help with storm damage repairs. This money comes from The Small Ports Fund.

    The details of the grant is £434,786 to repair collapse of wall at Fisherman’s Quay, remove large granite blocks partially blocking the sluice and fix damage to the hospital corner wall, loss of capping to harbour head wall and undermining of slipway. A further £66,391 to fix damaged caused by wooden baulks to Inner Harbour shifting, damaging roads, ladders and mooring chains.

    I really welcome this news, as Porthleven took the full force of the weather during the storm period. It is good this money can now be used to fully rectify the damage from the storms which hit Porthleven.

    More details can be found HERE

    Porthleven Storm Blogs HERE

    Porthleven CIC welcomed Penny Mordaunt, Government Minister with the brief for coastal communities. The reason for the visit was to meet the people behind the successful Coastal Community Fund bid in which the CIC was awarded just under £100k for a series of projects.

    Two of the main projects are a marquee hire business with 100% of the profits going back into community based projects. The other was the formation of a new car park which Porthleven desperately needs. The other projects include helping to up-light the Institute, a town trail and a website. IMG_3792-0.JPG
    During the visit in which the Minister was accompanied by the MP for the area, Andrew George the directors of the CIC took Penny and Andrew to the location of the new car park. This new car park will be able to host 72 vehicles. This new partnership will be between Coodes Estates and the CIC. The football club has also kindly agreed to the use of some of its land. Again, the profits from the CIC’s part (50 / 50 shared) will be used for community based projects.

    I and the directors were really pleased with the visit and the Minister commented how impressed she was with the project ideas. She was also impressed with the beauty of Porthleven. Though she didn’t have time for an ice-cream, but we did promise her one the next time she visited.

    The CIC is a great team to work with. The team consists of Dave Turnbull, Damelza Storbeck, Mark Berryman, Louise Winterton and me. Credit should also be paid to Charlotte Chadwick a former director.