Venue: Microsoft Teams. View directions
Contact: Mark Smith (Community Safety & Youth Officer) Tel: 0116 257 2675 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Introductions and Updates from Partner Agencies
Those present introduced themselves and gave some background as to their organisation and how it fits within the Community Engagement Forum.
L Monk, S Jamal, and M Flynn provided an overview of the Local Area Coordinator role and how it enables people to connect with services that exist within their communities. There is a Local Area Coordinator for all three areas within the Borough providing support in both individual and family settings.
N Levin highlighted the work of ‘Culture Leicestershire’ and their work over museum, heritage, libraries and participation services within Leicestershire County Council. The service has secured National Portfolio Organisation Status and funding through the Arts Council enabling more cultural activity across Leicestershire, including at Oadby Library. A new project called ‘Culture for You’ will enable art, books, and other cultural assets to be loaned to the public within their own homes or community hubs, and is being trialled in the Oadby and Wigston area. Culture is seen as a catalyst to support wellbeing and prevent social isolation, and is conscious of people who are unable to visit cultural sites in Leicestershire. N Levin noted that the service would be able to attend different community group meetings in the Borough from January onwards to promote the trial project.
M Rai-Taylor highlighted the various organisations locally she is involved with including the Youth Council and Community Safety Partnership.
Cllr. P Joshi and Cllr. R Joshi highlighted their involvement with the Oadby & Wigston Hindu Community group. It was noted by Cllr. R Joshi that she is also a ‘Menopause Champion’ for Age UK and has set up a menopause group in the Borough which meets on the first Friday of each month. It was raised that the Hindu Community group has started a Friday Lunch Club aimed at enabling people who feel isolated to participate in a community activity as well as receive a hot, nutritious meal at a nominal price; this club is open to anyone in the Borough.
Any Other Business
The Chair noted the delay to the commencement of the meeting due to confusion over the Teams joining details. M Smith confirmed that as the responsible officer for the Forum he had set up a Teams link for today’s meeting and those details were included on the Agenda Pack which was published to the Council’s website and via Mod.Gov. Unknown to M Smith was that Democratic Services had created an alternative Teams link that had been sent out to Members and attendees via an, at this stage, unknown mailing list. This resulted in there being two Teams meetings running simultaneously, delaying the start of the Forum.
Steps will be taken to prevent this reoccurring including ensuring that M Smith is the only Officer responsible for creating Teams links for the Forum, and including those details on the Agenda Pack. M Smith will also collate the email addresses present on Mod.Gov and the Democratic Services emailed invite into one master list for the Agenda Pack and Teams link to be distributed through.
The Chair also noted the low attendance at the meeting despite a large number of email addresses being present on the Mod.Gov mailing list and the list used by Democratic Services, and there being no members of public present within the meeting. Attendees were asked to promote the next meeting through their own networks and to groups they may have contact with whose work aligns with the purpose of the Community Engagement Forum.
M Flynn noted that a large number of the email addresses present on the invite she received were outdated with a number of people included having changed job roles or left the Borough. The promotion of the meeting via the Council’s website is not clear either with it not being immediately obvious that members of the public can participate in the Forum. L Monk suggested that some social media posts promoting the Forum could potentially generate more public interest in the meeting. M Smith used the posts created by the Council’s Comms Team for the Residents’ Forums as an example of how promotion could take place.
Cllr. P Joshi highlighted that the Council used to have a dedicated Community Engagement Officer in V Quintyne but that this role no longer exists. The lack of this role has potentially contributed to low attendance within this Forum and others. The Chair noted that the responsibility for the Forum appears to have passed to M Smith without a handover being available, and that the meetings are effectively having to start from scratch in this regard.
Cllr. R Joshi proposed a quarterly newsletter be developed that highlights which community groups exist in the Borough and the work of this Forum. A document maintained by L Monk was used as a good example of this, and as something that could be adapted in to something that is present on the Council’s website. Each quarter could have a slightly different theme focusing on different elements of community work. Potentially this could see ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday, 13 February 2024 – 1:30pm – Venue TBC
Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 1:30pm – Microsoft Teams
Consideration was given in the meeting to moving the Forum to a 6pm, in-person meeting at the Council Offices but this poses barriers to attendance in terms of the time of the meeting and parking charges. This will be reviewed again at February’s meeting.