Council of the Week: Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council
Stirchley and Brookside is a diverse parish with densely populated areas within the Brookside Avenue ring road, estates and larger properties in Stirchley and Holmer Lake as well as listed buildings in Stirchley Village. There are two local centres and good links to the town centre. The extensive green network including the Madebrook Local Nature Reserve and Holmer Lake are highly valued by residents.
The council has a long record of working innovatively with partners to improve services for residents; including working with Telford and Wrekin Council establishing the parish environmental team, developing a co-location working model at The Sambrook Centre, partnership with the Allotments Association reducing costs for improvements and repairs. The council is also the Locally Trusted Organisation for Brookside Big Local. Council and staff have a real can-do attitude.
The councils gardening scheme helps over 100 elderly residents who are unable to manage their gardens. For some residents having a visit from ‘the boys’ is a real highlight. In the winter the team undertake additional work to improve the environment, they also look after the parish owned bus shelters, two play areas, a skate-park, BMX track and closed churchyard. Three youth clubs are a run by the council’s youth workers, one in each of the district centres for 5-11 year olds and another for over 11’s.
Throughout the year the council runs a series of events. Each spring local schools, the Allotments Association and councillors grow small plants, residents are invited to ‘pot their own’ to take home and grow on. Advice is on hand from gardeners, composters, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and there are plenty of activities for children. The event is put together with partners from the local authorities, other community groups and residents. December is a very busy month for the council with Christmas parties and fairs, again organised with community groups and other partners. The pensioners Christmas party is an institution with over 200 local pensioners enjoying a meal and entertainment at a local hotel.
The council has been quick to recognise that by working with partners they can together improve services to the community. The parish environmental team is a joint project with Telford and Wrekin Council, which has increased the capacity for delivering environmental services to resident; it is more flexible and cost effective as the councils is able to respond quickly to issues without the need for work orders. It also gives the council the opportunity to employ an apprentice. The council has been working closely with Telford and Wrekin Council to ensure that the library service remains in Stirchley and that the building is available for community use
The Sambrook Centre is located in the local centre at Stirchley. In 2011 cuts meant that Telford and Wrekin Council needed to close some of its quieter libraries in local centres. It was originally a pragmatic stopgap to retain library services in the community and to reduce costs for the council. The Sambrook Centre has developed into a community hub; meeting the needs of residents of Stirchley and Brookside Parish. The council has recently agreed to purchase the centre ensuring its future. So successful was the idea of co-location for delivering services been, many other local councils in the county are using the model as a cost saving, service saving opportunity.