Bold new scheme will switch the focus onto individuals as council introduces new tactics

New message: Barnsley Council chief executive Diana Terris introduces Town Spirit
New message: Barnsley Council chief executive Diana Terris introduces Town Spirit
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A new communications project has been launched by Barnsley Council and other public sector bodies in an attempt to improve joint working between them and the communities they serve in future.

The idea has been branded Town Spirit and the objective is to free up communication channels to help make sure residents understand exactly what they can expect from the authorities – but also to help guide them in ways they can contribute personally to making society a better place.

It is intended as a way of coping with the austerity which has seen all public bodies have to make cuts and changes to the way they provide services.

A key to the success of Town Spirit is that it focuses on the needs of individuals, rather than simply explaining what services are available to try to make sure residents get the best help possible but are also in a position to do as much as possible to help themselves – such as taking up the offer of help to stop smoking, or getting involved in volunteering work.

fits together – helping to remove the barriers so people can see the links between services they receive.

Council chief executive Diana Terris said: “Town Spirit gives us a clear way of sharing our work with our communities and residents. It doesn’t show the organisations, teams or structures, just the outcomes of the hard work taking place right across the borough.

“Town Spirit isn’t just to promote council services – that simply wouldn’t work. The only way we’re going to build thriving communities is if we all work together. “We really want to encourage everyone to own it; play their part, help create solutions and encourage new ways of doing things and make changes through communities coming together.”

Coun leader Sir Steve Houghton added: “It is about how we can work together better, as a community.

“All the public agencies have been through some pretty tough times in the last eight or nine years and we have had to adapt and change.

“The good news is we have got through that it is a tremendous credit to everyone in the town, and the agencies, that we have got through it.

“The bad news is that austerity hasn’t gone away and it is likely to continue.

“Our direction as a future council has been to move from being the ultimate provider to working with people to support them to do much more for themselves.

“That doesn’t mean the old lady at 95 won’t get our help. It is in our DNA to help people

“We all want to be resilient, not relying on other people to do things for us.

“We have to get the conversation with the public as to how we can do that, perhaps not as we have done it in the past,” he said.