Report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services
The Committee considered a report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services, which set out actions and proposed activities in response to cost of living pressures. It also sought approval for an amendment to the Stronger Communities Grant Programme.
Members commended a good report and practical suggestions. During the discussion and questions, the following pointes were noted:
a) Officers accepted that ‘warm spaces’ might not work for everyone, but would increase opportunity, and vulnerable residents would continue to be referred to Social Services.
b) A Member reported difficulty in accessing the Emergency Support Service webpage. The officer agreed to ask the Benefits Team in Chamberlains to investigate. Members were informed that the London Borough of Lambeth administers the fund for the City Corporation.
c) The Housing Support Fund targets residents known to their services and need of support, and those in receipt of welfare benefits
d) The Multi Officer Steering Group has only just been established and is yet to agree its Terms of Reference.
e) Some actions are being taken forward by partners. The Department is not able to identify leads for all actions given limited resources, but the action plan will help to identify gaps.
f) It was suggested that there could be conflicting messages in respect of the ‘Warm Winter Welcome’ and ‘Destination City’ communications. The officer agreed to raise this with the Communications Director.
g) It was suggested that warm space opportunities for workers should be promoted , as it may be cheaper to travel into the City than work from home during the winter months.
h) St Luke’s is a highly valued community facility providing food support and warm space and should be promoted.
i) It was suggested that public access computers were provided at the Community Centres.
j) The availability of warm spaces grants may open up facilities and provide more opportunities to run events on the estates. The Stronger Communities Grants are available for amounts above £2,000; the application process is simple and grants can run concurrently or successively.
RESOLVED, that :
1. The Action Plan be strengthened to include timings and officer accountability.
2. An amendment to the Stronger Communities Grant criteria be approved, to allow a 6-month ‘warm spaces’ criteria, to fund activities and spaces over the winter period.