The Liberal Democrats want more 'community hubs' created across Norfolk to provide a boost to the County's market towns.
Community hubs are an expansion of library services, and can be based at libraries across Norfolk. They provide face-to-face contact for a variety of services provided by district, health and voluntary sector partners alongside private community groups. so that people could make payments or get access to information and support.
The initiative is being proposed by the Liberal Democrats as part of their manifesto for the elections to Norfolk County Council on 6 May.
Norfolk County Council has recently established a Community and Enterprise Centre in Attleborough to do this.
Group Leader on Norfolk County Council Steff Aquarone said “Norfolk County Council has only put its toe in the water on this and it is time to jump in and make it happen. Community Hubs were established by councils across the UK over 10 to 20 years ago."
A series of community hubs across the county will make it much easier for people to get the help and advice they need locally, it will give a boost to the market towns as it will give people a reason to go there rather than go all the way to Norwich and it brings long term cost savings.
It can make a real difference for local communities, changing people’s lives and enabling the council to deliver more and better services at the same or lower cost. All that is needed is the drive and leadership to fully deliver it.”
Locations for the community hubs would need to be drawn up but it is suggested by the Liberal Democrats that there could be at least one major hub in each district built around the local library.
Steff Aquarone said “This however is not a one size fits all situation and conversations with parishes and towns will need to be a key part in shaping what could be delivered for each community.”
Funding would be available from the County Council’s Capital Budget and as has happened elsewhere in the UK there will be opportunities to source government funding for the schemes.
Norfolk County Council's political make-up is Conservatives 52, Labour 16, Liberal Democrats nine, Independent three, Independent (non-aligned) one, non-aligned one and two vacancies.
People go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, with all 84 seats up for grabs.