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Bright Ideas for the Royal Borough discussed at Big Society Panel meeting

Bright Ideas for the Royal Borough discussed at Big Society Panel meeting

Lucy Elder

Ideas from residents about how to make the Royal Borough a better place to live were discussed at a meeting last night.

A shortlist of ideas for the Big Society's Bright Idea Challenge Prize were put before councillors at the big society panel.

The challenge prize winners were announced in October.

In first place was Jo Hall's surrogate grandparents scheme with an idea for children's footpaths and trails in second and a free, weekly 5km timed run in third.

The shortlist was brought before the panel by Royal Borough officer Michaela Rizou to see if there were any other ideas they wanted to follow up on.

Ideas included novelty talking bins, a weekend where employers and businesses come together to give young people careers advice, a community swap shop and a cycle-powered phone charging station in Windsor.

"There's some exciting things there," said panel vice-chairman Cllr Christine Bateson (Cons, Sunningdale).

"I like the way you have done this because it gives us an idea of what is going on already and what we could do."

Councillors debated the 'Royal Bikes' idea for Windsor, which would work in a similar way to Boris Bikes in London.

The panel heard it would cost about £175,000 a year to run and the idea of sponsorship was raised.

It was suggested the idea should be brought before the relevant panel and that the shortlist would be considered again at the panel's May meeting.

An update on the number of volunteers supporting council services was also heard.

Community and business partnerships manager Harjit Hunjan told the meeting there was an increase of 606 volunteers compared to the same time last year.

Members of the panel then discussed ways of encouraging more people to volunteer, including ideas such as volunteering services such as accounting or marketing advice.

Other issues raised at the meeting held in Maidenhead Town Hall in St Ives Road were:

  • A report on the latest Big Society Day, which was held on Sunday in Peascod Street, Windsor, was heard.
  • An update was given on the devolution of services to parishes.
  • The meeting heard about a visit from Paul Maltby, director of open data and government innovation at the cabinet office, to the council.

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