To receive a report from the Leader of the Council on the business of the cabinet and on matters that the leader considers should be drawn to the council’s attention. The leader shall have 10 minutes to make his announcements.
The opposition group will have an opportunity to reply to the leader’s remarks. The opposition group leader shall have 5 minutes to respond after which the Leader of the Council will have a right of reply. Any right of reply will be for a maximum duration of 5 minutes.
The Leader gave the following announcements:
“There has been much conjecture as to which tier we will find ourselves in when we come out of lockdown. I do not support the view held by some Kent leaders that we should all be in the same tier, probably tier 3 as Thanet and Swale in particular are suffering extremely high incidences of infection. I have argued that Kent is so large it is not sensible to include us all in the same tier, however, we will find out tomorrow. I must say that our residents have been very good at sticking to the rules. Hands, Face Space. And whatever tier we find ourselves in I know that we will continue to be sensible.
Our district wide community hub model continues to support those more vulnerable residents during this very difficult period.
I would like to thank the host organisations Age Concern UK in Hythe, Three Hills Leisure Centre in Folkestone, and New Romney Day Centre, along with the respective Hub leads Cleo Smith, Nick Shaw and Jon Wilson, for their efforts which have made the hub model a great success. There have also been over 600 volunteers involved with the hubs without whom this response would not be possible and my thanks goes to each and everyone them for committing to help our community.
I am delighted that in partnership with the Council the hubs will continue to provide support for over the coming winter months and we recently contacted over 5,000 residents by posting out over 3000 letters and sending nearly 2000 emails to ensure they are aware of the help available to them. This includes help to overcome loneliness and isolation, befriending calls, signposting to services for food deliveries and food banks, collecting shopping and prescriptions.
The hubs have also being carrying out projects as a result of winning funding from Sport England funding to help to get people active in their homes through exercise booklets as well as socially distanced exercise sessions so you can see that the hub model has a wider reach than just as a response to the pandemic.
Could I ask those of you that haven’t replied to the IT survey to please do so as it is imperative that in this virtual age we have IT kit that is fit for purpose. Thank you.
As this is the last full council meeting before Christmas I will wish everyone a happy and healthy Christmas.
The council offices will be closed over the Christmas period, although our covid-19 helpline remains available on 01303 761116. For other out of hours emergency support the council can be contacted on 01303 221888”.
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor McConville, stated that he shared the trepidation about Folkestone and Hythe being put in a higher tier than might be deserved based on COVID case numbers, but added that the pandemic would not be defeated in isolation. He stated that it was vital that support be given to neighbours with more serious health demands, and suggested a united approach in asking for government support for residents and businesses. The current measures were less than what was offered in the Spring. Without support from the government, many businesses would not survive the pandemic. He commended the success of the hubs, and confirmed it was a valuable service. He looked forward to seeing a long term sustainable model. He then wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
The Leader in reply stated that he endorsed neighbourly support.
Proposed by Councillor Monk,
Seconded by Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee; and
That the announcements of the Leader be noted.