In-person Council and Committee meetings which are open to the press and public to observe have resumed from 7 May 2021 following the expiry of the Regulations that allowed local authorities to hold remote meetings.
Whilst most of these meetings will take place in the Council Chamber at the Council Offices in Wigston, it may be necessary to host a meeting at an alternative venue and/or at short notice. This will allow all attendees to maintain social distancing and follow the latest COVID-secure guidelines.
If attending an in-person meeting, all attendees must wear a face covering (unless exempt or when seated) and must sanitise their hands on entry and exit to/from the meeting venue. Meeting venue capacity will be severely restricted due to COVID-19 regulations, however there will still be opportunities for public participation in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
Where the necessary technology is available and working, the press and public may still be able to watch the live streams of meetings without having to attend in-person. Instructions on how to access live streams can be found below where applicable. At a minimum, audio recordings of meetings will be made available on the Council’s website shortly after any given meeting.
Venue: Council Offices, Station Road, Wigston. View directions
Contact: Veronika Quintyne - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome and Introductions
Councillor Samia Haq introduced herself as the new Chair of the Community Engagement Forum. As the Chair she expressed thanks to Councillor Jeffrey Kaufman for his previous chairing of the Community Engagement Forum. Colleagues present then individually introduced themselves and stated what organisation they represented.
Chris Huscroft (Wigston Foodbank)
Richard Darlaston (Lions Clubs International, Wigston)
Claire Bradshaw (Libraries, Wigston Magna)
Les Gill (Helping Hands South Wigston)
Lesley Green (Helping Hands South Wigston)
Vinod Ghadiali (O&W Hindu Association)
Jo Knight (Women Today, Oadby and Wigston)
Jan Bryars (OW&SW Multicultural Group)
Peter Owers (Christians Against Poverty)
Garry Burns (Age UK, Wigston)
Sue Renton (Local Area Coordinator, Wigston)
The minutes of the previous meeting held on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 were approved by Councillor Kaufman and seconded by B Gohil as a true record.
Page 2: The Chair informed colleagues that the Community Engagement Forum is to receive a pot of funding.
· This funding will feature on the agenda for the next CEF (Community Engagement Forum).
Page 2: NOCN (National Open College Network) Level 1 Community Development Course. Due to low take up this learning opportunity was postponed to start at a future date.
Page 2: The presentation slides which accompanied the presentation on the Social and Human Rights Model of Disability versus the Medical Model were circulated to CEF colleagues.
Page 3: The presentation slides which were to accompany the agenda item from Steve Dacey, Mark Stevens, Sue Renton and Mary Flynn were circulated to CEF colleagues.
Page 4: The presentation slides which accompanied the presentation from Clockwise on the service it provides to address poverty reduction, building financial resilience and challenging debt management were circulated to CEF colleagues.
Page 4: A handout which accompanied the update on Universal Credit, which noted how the Council is helping residents, was circulated to CEF colleagues.
Steve Dacey a member of the emerging Oadby, Wigston and South Wigston Disability Forum spoke from his perspective on the challenges of being a wheelchair user living in an urban environment.
Ongoing key issues raised were;
· Vehicle users parking inconsiderately on kerbsides.
· Access to super store shopping is limited. Accessing Lidl in South Wigston is easy but egress using a motorised wheelchair to use a steep ramp to traverse Station Road is very challenging. The gradient is too steep.
· Some of the shops in Wigston have neither ramps nor lifts to support entry into shops.
· Shop doorways are not all wide enough to allow wheelchair access.
· Entry to Blaby Road Park is difficult his is due to the opening mechanism.
· Dog faeces left on pavements are offensive especially if a wheelchair accidently goes through it.
· On domestic bin collection days the bin is not always manageable to take to the kerbside. It was explained that the Council maintains an Assisted Collection List to support households with the emptying of bins. This Assisted Collection list is maintained by Customer Services on Bell Street.
· The Depot at Oadby were requested to ensure household dustbins were placed away from the centre of pavements. This still remains an issue.
· Dustbins left in the middle of pavements are an obstacle.
· Accessing local bus transport when pram users with grocery shopping take over wheelchair space is frustrating.
· The Community Engagement Officer provides support to the developing Oadby, Wigston and South Wigston Disability Forum.
· SD is to speak with Councillor Boyce outside of the meeting to address some of the issues raised.
· VQ is to find out about the assisted collection service and have information about it placed in Letterbox.
Leicester South Foodbank - Helping Local People in Crisis
Brian Harrison from Leicester South Foodbank lead by the Trussell Trust made the key points concerning how the Foodbank helps and supports people dealing with food poverty.
· The food is distributed from the Kings Centre on Bull Head Street, Wigston. The Foodbank initially served 500 people. Its goal is to help people out of food poverty by 2026.
· By the year end it is expected that the Foodbank will have served 4,000 people.
· It operates on Mondays and uses the Red Voucher Scheme. A voucher is issued which is then redeemed. Approximately forty vouchers are distributed monthly. A weekly voucher can cover a family of five. A parcel can last anything from two to three days. 35 to 40 people are seen fortnightly.
· There is a support service in schools. Only the school families receive a service.
· 75 to100 food parcels a fortnight are distributed to schools and other hubs. There are six hubs.
· A service is provided at South Leicester College and the two local universities.
· Young people are helped with food spending guidance. Student support offer a wraparound service and offer food parcels.
· Some people are living on toast and butter.
· Education and Welfare Services are working with the Foodbank.
· The Foodbank has a van to pick up food. Food can now be distributed five days a week.
· Supermarkets such as ASDA provide food donations.
· Food supplies are also provided by the Muslim Community on occasions such as Ramadam.
· The Trussell Trust is trying to target and make people aware of the foods it needs for distribution and it also support the independent food banks.
· The Foodbank has worked with the Council’s Customer Service Centre from the beginning. Initial referrals come through Customer Services.
· Some people abuse the Foodbank. This is not condoned but no one is turned away. Abuse can lead to Police and Trading Standards action if such abuse is regular.
· More in-work families appear to be using Foodbanks.
· More coordination is taking place between agencies to ensure food is stored and collected so there is no waste.
· All Foodbanks are volunteer run.
· Some families appear to only struggle once a month with having enough food.
· People on Universal Credit also access the foodbank. This can be due to people having to wait at least six weeks for Universal Credit.
· South Leicester Salvation Army receives 30 to forty parcels. The Community Fridge in Wigston is supplied by the Foodbank.
· Fareshare provides fresh produce to the Foodbank.
· The needs of people are tiered. They receive an emergency allocation.
· People are referred to Helping Hands for debt recovery service at Trinity Methodist Church in Oadby.
· Numbers of people with the challenges of mental health and disability are being seen.
Mick Bullock provided an update paper covering key points about Universal Credit. The paper includes;
· Information on changes to Universal Credit.
· How people can be helped to claim Universal Credit.
· The impact of Universal Credit on residents, especially moving into work and off of benefits.
· Universal Credit payments and claiming other benefits.
· The local development of Universal Credit.
· Increase in the use of Foodbanks.
· Mixed age couples claiming Universal Credit.
· Homelessness and the increased demand for advice and support.
· Universal Credit take up in the borough reflecting that countrywide.
· Mick Bullock may bring a case study which reflects work done by Helping hands and Citizens Advice Bureau to the next meeting. There are 300 claimants in Oadby and Wigston.
· 700 people are moving from Housing Benefits to Universal Credit.
· Universal Credit claimants have to sign up online. This can prove problematic for those not digitally savvy or not in possession of all the information they require. People are encouraged to use Customer Services on Bell Street for IT assistance.CAB and Helping Hands can also help.
· Some Universal Credit applications can be backdated.
· Advanced Payment Loans are available.
· It was agreed to share the contact details for Oadby and Wigston Borough Council Revenues and Benefits Team which is included in the update circulated at the meeting.
· Circulate the Universal Credit update paper provided to all.
Jane Edwards brought information about the Plastics event.
Date: Friday, 9 August 2019. The time and location is to be confirmed.
· Jayne Edwards is to circulate the Plastics Pledge information to everyone.
· Information about the plastic pledge is to come to the next CEF for discussion.
Different Streams of Funding
ASDA Stores Funding
Beth Domingo, the Community Life Champion at ASDA (Oadby), spoke about the funding pilots available to not for profit groups.
Three charities per quarter are funded. Customers vote by using green tokens. The first prize is £500. The second prize is £200. There is a form instore to fill in. Funding can go to good causes such as Hearing Cause.
There are local impact grants available. It is split into 5 categories. All the grants go to good causes. £615 was awarded to the Elderberries, Wigston. A sporting grant was awarded to Oadby and Wigston Team. There is funding to help holiday clubs. £1,000 was awarded to Saffron Young Peoples Project. Christmas Projects and the Bridge were helped. ASDA want to support spend on good causes. Application forms are filled in alongside Beth For information about the Foundation click the following link: https://www.asdafoundation.org/
Community Engagement Forum Funding
The Chair noted the Community Engagement Forum is to receive a pot of funding for which the Third Sector will be instrumental in distributing.
· This CEF grant will be brought to the next CEF to organise what the criteria will be for spend.
A paper copy of Leicestershire County Council list of funding was circulated.
· Circulate the funding package to all.
Date of the Next Meeting
Tuesday, 5 November 2019 at 1:30 p.m. The venue for all meetings is Oadby & Wigston Borough Council Offices, Council Chamber, Bushloe House, Station Road, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 2DR.