Family-friendly Budget moves one step closer

Baby Packs

The Council is poised to invest £360,000 through the provision of Baby Packs that will be universally available for all families with a new baby who live in Rotherham.

At a meeting on Monday 12 February, the Council’s 2024/25 Budget moved a step closer after it was approved by Cabinet. The Council has put family-friendly measures at the heart of this year’s Budget proposals, including Baby Packs.

On average, there are 2,740 babies born each year in Rotherham who will benefit from this investment proposal, ensuring that every new child’s family has access to essential items right from the beginning of the child’s life. Registering for the packs will also help parents to access a range of support and advice services provided by the Council’s Early Help service.

High quality items will be included in the Baby Packs, promoting positive parent and child interaction and safety, helping to improve outcomes for the child and family.

The final makeup of the packs will be determined during the procurement process, but it is thought that these will include items such as: muslin cloths, baby grows, and a travel changing mat, teething rings, sensory toys, and child thermometers.

Information will be included in the Baby Packs to help give Rotherham children the best start in life, such as oral health, safe sleeping, infant feeding, accident prevention, parenting and perinatal support.

Councillor Victoria Cusworth, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Providing all children with the best start in life means starting from the beginning, and sadly too many children in Rotherham are going without some of the basics. That’s why I’m so pleased that we are going to be able to support new parents with these products, as well as ensuring that they get timely help and support from our local services. By making parenting a little easier and giving families the extra little bit of help, we can help to set all our children up for the best start in life.”

Cabinet agreed to invest across a range of other areas including more funding for youth work, Children’s Centres and upgrades to playgrounds.

An additional £370,000 is set to be invested to enhance Youth Work and Early Help services. This includes employing additional staff, so that hundreds more sessions can be provided for families.

More than £900,000 has been allocated to upgrade eight children’s play areas, including those at Thrybergh and Rother Valley Country Parks. In addition to this, the Water Splash at Clifton Park will benefit from investment to the tune of £900,000, so that works can be carried out to revamp the site.

Cabinet agreed to a number of investments to respond to the needs of our local communities. This includes funding for road and pavement improvements, upgrades to streetlighting, local road safety schemes, as well as additional funding to deliver flood defences.

For the fifth successive year, Cabinet agreed to a Council Tax increase below the Government’s referendum cap threshold. The proposed increase of 1.5% on basic Council Tax, plus a further 2% on the government’s Adult Social Care Levy is expected to be the lowest overall percentage increase of any Council with social care responsibilities in the Yorkshire region. For the majority of Rotherham households, the increase amounts to an extra 79p per week.

The Cabinet meeting can be re-watched on the Council’s webcast here:   

All reports can be found here: agenda document pack - Cabinet 12 February 2024 - Rotherham Council

The Council’s Budget will be determined by the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 28 February.

Published: 13th February 2024