Regeneration and revitalising the region’s high streets will help Scottish Borders Council achieve it’s ‘Ambitious for the Borders’ programme by 2017.
When the current administration came into power in 2012 they introduced an ambitious programme of commitments for the region and last week councillors were told that 70% of that programme has already been achieved. While congratulating themselves on how far they had come councillors agreed with Councillor Stuart Bell that regeneration was still required as they work towards a 100% record for ‘Ambitious for the Borders’.
Four key areas were focussed on: sound financial management; economic development; opportunities for children and young people; and improving life in the Borders.
Councillor Catriona Bhatia said: ”It’s always good to reflect back on achievements. You need reminded of what you set out to do and whether you have achieved it.
“There are significant things still to do such as youth employment.”
The council had agreed it would guarantee work experience, apprenticeships or college places for every Borders school leaver’ So far the council has introduced a work opportunities scheme within the council itself and continued work with its partners will help young people in the region’s most deprived areas to gain employment.
Councillor Stuart Bell congratulated SBC’s economic development staff who had achieved 80% of the council’s economic aims within two years.
The council has committed £8.4 million in the Superfast Broadband programme; £100,000 to help realise economic opportunities from the Borders railway; is supporting Borders creative arts; and continues to provide expert business advice.
Despite financial constraints and the need to find savings of £7.3 million in 2012-13 and £6.3 million in 2013-14 they managed to finish both years with an underspend withe “minimal impact on the high quality services provided across the Borders”.
When it comes to improving life in the Borders, SBC highlights: 185 affordable homes provided; the setting up of sports hubs in Jedburgh, Selkirk, Peebles and Tweedbank; work with NHS Borders to launch a specialist dementia team to support people with dementia and their carers; introduced a rapid reaction care at home service and established a community team to help people remain fit and healthy.