We are delighted that our Children’s Services in Kingston are rated Outstanding, and we are in the top 3% nationally for social care provision for adults and children combined.
When the pandemic hit, we acted quickly — we worked with our local NHS and the voluntary sector to establish the Kingston Stronger Together Hub which ensured everyone could access essential services through one point of contact.
Harnessing the borough’s fantastic community spirit, we made sure anyone who needed help with food, medicines or emotional support was looked after.
We provided free school meals for our most vulnerable children where the government failed them. In the face of unprecedented need, we established a network of street champions to collect roadside donations for food banks.
As a country, we are facing a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation rates not seen in thirty years.
As a Liberal Democrat administration, we have kept a council tax reduction scheme, which allows up to 100% reduction for those struggling to make ends meet.
Giving all children in Kingston the best start
Covid has put an enormous strain on children, impacting both their education and their mental health.
We believe it’s time to focus on the next generation to ensure every child in Kingston has a great start in life.
For most children, that means a place in an excellent school.
For children with special educational needs and disabilities, it means being able to access more specialist provision locally.
For children whose families are struggling, it means offering them support when they need it.
The first 1001 days, the period from conception to a child’s second birthday, are the most critical in their development. We will prioritise early intervention and provision of support to both child and parents, to give every child the best possible chance.
This is how we will support children:
Mental health hubs. We will establish mental health hubs where children and young people can access mental health support across the borough and work with schools to increase preventative mental health care.
Build new main stream schools. We will support the building of a new primary school in Surbiton, provide a new secondary school in Norbiton and rebuild Burlington Junior.
Special educational needs. We will set up a Forest School for where children with special educational needs can learn in an open and softly structured environment which meets their needs, build a specialist Autism school within the Moor Lane site in Chessington, and provide a specialist campus for special needs provision for children over 16.
Youth services. We will be expanding our youth services, offering more for young people in our borough through additional youth buses and youth workers.
School meals. During the pandemic we have provided hot school meals for everyone in need during half terms and we will continue to do so.
Care leavers. We will increase the availability of accommodation for young people when they leave care and as they continue their journey to independent adulthood.
Caring for the most vulnerable
More than half of all money raised in council tax goes to support our most vulnerable neighbours. This includes adult social care as well as children’s services.
We are committed to doing what we can to make life fairer for those who are struggling, often as a result of Tory government decisions.
This is how we will care for the vulnerable:
Domestic abuse. We are committed to support those who experience domestic abuse, and are working with Kingston Womens’ Hub which provides support to women after experiencing domestic violence.
Day centres and respite care. We will increase respite care capacity and day centre places in Kingston to enable people to live at home for longer and to provide a break for carers, many of whom are elderly themselves.
Council funded care. We will guarantee that all residents who qualify for council-funded care will be offered care in a setting with a high Care Quality Commission rating. Nobody will be placed in care further away than 20 miles (unless it is right for them).
Physical disabilities. We will provide new homes which will be suitable for people with physical disabilities as well as homes that can be adapted to meet the changing needs of older people.
Digital access. We will provide equipment, connectivity and training to those in danger of being left behind in our digital world. Council housing estates will all have access to fibre broadband - this will help improve access to education, jobs and help maintain connectivity to wider society.
Carers. We will provide better support for carers.