It is quite likely that many readers of this have never been to a ward forum. Whatever their drawbacks, and there are most defintely some, they do at least give residents a public forum at which to question their local councillors. The Council has decided to stop these from next April as part of the next round of budget cuts. Just how residents can ask questions, find out what’s going on locally and hold their councillors to account has yet to be decided. In addition, the ward forum budgets which fund a myriad of big and little projects across the borough will cease and the money put in to a central pot with the exact details to be decided.
West Ealing Neighbours is typical of many local groups in having had funding from ward forums. The annual SoundBite Festival and Christmas Fair have both received funding from ward forums. Ward forums have helped fund projects to spruce up patches of waste ground, traffic calming measures, help small community groups and much, much more. We shall have to wait and see what the Council proposes.
You can see what you’ve been missing by dipping in to a video of part of the recent Walpole Ward Forum here.