What would I do with £13.6m?
£13.6 million is (I believe) the project costs to build a new southern entrance to Leeds station. It will mean that residents in the Granary wharf developments and visitors to the Mint Hotel will have several hundred metres shaved off their walk to the station – and they will be able to avoid the recently refurbished (£4.6m) Neville St – which is already leaking again! It is yet another investment to attract the creative classes to Leeds so that the rest of us can benefit from the trickle down effect of their fabulous wealth creation. Sounds like a plan?
I would invest in informal education and development by providing 20 street based, person centred coaches, supported by area panels acting as a ‘social brain’ to help coaches when they find clients who are really stuck in their pursuit of progress.
20 coaches would enable us to say that the City of Leeds provides, to anyone who wants it, access to a free, person centred coach to help them make progress on their agenda. We would develop a culture of active citizenship rather than passive acceptance and blame.
Social panels would be made up of local volunteers, service providers and others with an interest in the area. Panels would meet monthly to review the coach’s progress and provide support on some of their most intractable cases.
Costs to start and run such a service in the first three years would be in the region of £4m. Running costs for each subsequent year would be in the region of £1.2m.
I would expect such a service to provide meaningful support to well over 4000 Leeds people per year, providing significant gains in economic and social wellbeing for the majority of them.
It would also enable Leeds to promote itself as something truly unique – the person centred city.
We would gather incredible intelligence from across the city on the real barriers that hold people back, and service provider agencies might learn to respond to these rather than the dictats of the bureaucrats and their targets.
This IS doable. Very doable.
And after running the service for 5 years I would still have £7 million in the bank!
What would you do with £13.6m to make Leeds a city to be proud of?