The Committee and Member Services Officer advised the Vice - Chairman that the meeting was inquorate and therefore decisions could not be taken.
The Committee could either defer all items to the next meeting or could continue with the meeting, make suggestions and suggest that the relevant Head of Service be requested to take any decisions required under delegated powers.
The Vice-Chairman consulted with Members of the Committee and stated that the meeting would continue with items requiring a decision being referred to the relevant Head of Department.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clare Billing, John Booth, Gary Grindal, Lorna Kercher, Mrs L.A. Needham and Mike Rice (Chairman).
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2016 will be considered at the next meeting due to be held on 7 September 2016.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 May 2016 will be considered at the next meeting due to be held on 7 September 2016.
NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business notified.
(1) The Vice - Chairman welcomed all who had attended the meeting, particularly those who had attended to give a presentation;
(2) The Vice - Chairman informed those present that, in accordance with Council Policy the meeting would be audio recorded;
(3) The Vice - Chairman drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest need to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - HERTS YOUNG CARERS
Ms Jo Ward thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for Herts Young Carers as follows:
The 2011 Census identified 178,000 young carers in England and Wales.
It was estimated that there were 8000 in Hertfordshire;
Young carers were children and young people who looked after someone in their family who had an illness, disability or was affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse. Often taking on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult;
The Herts Young Carers group was staffed by volunteers;
24 young carers, aged between 8 and 16 years, met on a fortnightly basis;
Activities included sports, games, art, cookery and computers;
The group catered for young people who were in a caring role;
Referrals were made by Carers in Herts, school support workers and self referral;
Funding was required to help with the cost of taxi fares to get the young people to and from the group, which amounted to approximately £270 per person per year;
Of the 24 young people attending the group 5 came from Letchworth, 10 from Hitchin, and 2 from Southern Rural;
There was a waiting list of young carers wishing to join the Group.
Hector, a young carer, explained that he was 13 years old and his brother had autism. The group enabled him to take a break from being a carer and gave him a chance to be a child for a while.
In response to questions from Members, Ms Ward advised that they were fundraising
In order to supply additional groups and that Youth Connextions had set up a group for carers aged 13 and over.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Ms Ward for her presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LETCHWORTH BID
Prior to the item being discussed Councillor David Levett declared a Declarable Interest as he was a member of the Letchworth BID Board. He advised that he would listen to the presentation.
Mr Tom Hardy, Letchworth BID Manager, thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the activities and future plans of the BID as follows:
FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL
The BID Manager thanked the Committee for the grant funding previously awarded towards the Food and Drink Festival, which had been was a great success
Attractions at the event included 20 stall holders, live music and a kids theatre. It also served as a taster session for the new Garden City Brewery which approximately 1,000 pints prior to the official opening on 11 June 2016.
Feedback had been positive and the event had increased footfall to 35,000.
FUTURE FEATURE EVENTS
Events to look forward to in Letchworth Garden City included:
25/26 June 2016 - Glast - Wynd - Bury;
10 July 2016 - Run Around the Garden;
16 July 2016 - Town Centre Takeover;
15/16 October 2016 - Beer and World Food Festival;
26 November 2016 - Christmas Light Switch On.
Several regular events were either already running or were starting in the near future including:
Weekly Thursday Market;
Monthly Street Food
Regular Car Boot Sales.
The BID was working closely with groups for the disabled regarding access and with Hertfordshire County Council to improve signage.
DEVELOPING THE OFFER
The BID was offering free training for local business on issues such a use of social media, which will continue and develop.
Footfall counters had been installed in Leys Avenue and Eastcheap in order to measure trends.
Love Letchworth merchandise had been developed and was now for sale.
Monthly Trader meetings were taking place and a monthly newsletter was being distributed.
A business assessment and mentoring scheme was being worked on.
Members asked Mr Hardy to explain the relationship between Letchworth Town Centre Partnership and the Letchworth BID.
Mr Hardy explained that the Town Centre Partnership was in operation before the BID came into being and that they both currently existed.
Councillor Levett advised that the Partnership had remained open as it was in receipt of Memorandum of Understanding funding from the Council, but it was in the process of being closed down.
In response to questions from Members Mr Hardy advised that the 2016 Food Festival had used local chefs and businesses, rather than hiring in professional chefs to give demonstrations and therefore had cost £10,000 less to put on. This year the event had taken £14,000 in income.
In respect of a query regarding footfall he advised that communication with businesses was better and support was offered and as a result they took a more active part and had reported increased sales during the Food Festival.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Hardy for his presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - WEDNESDAY DROP IN
Mr John Sharman and Mr George Liddle thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the Wednesday Drop In as follows:
The Wednesday Drop In was set up 25 years ago to cater for people with long tern mental health problems and people with learning disabilities.
It was now run by volunteers who helped organise various activities including flower arranging and board games for the 15/20 people attending each week.
The club provided a place where, often lonely, and socially excluded people could meet and was often the only opportunity for many of the Members to get out and meet people.
A small attendance fee was charged to cover food and drink, but there was no membership fee, although cutbacks in funding from various sources had caused problems.
Members asked whether the Club had considered working together with other groups proving similar services.
Mr Sharman advised that they had considered aligning themselves with other groups, but had found common ground. They were also reluctant to move as continuity was very important.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Sharman and Mr Liddle for their presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - HERTFORDSHIRE DISABLED CRICKET ASSOCIATION
Mr Richard Hill thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the Hertfordshire Disabled Cricket Association as follows:
The Association was formed 15 years ago after recognising that lots of people could benefit from playing cricket, which could be played in many different forms, including a table top version.
They were working in partnership with Letchworth Cricket Club to develop weekly cricket sessions for 15/25 people with learning or physical disabilities, with a focus on social and tam framework.
Playing cricket enhanced decision making, increased team work, boosted self esteem and self confidence and provided health and social benefits.
Sports funding was only available for short term project and it was planned that this would continue for as least 12 months.
There were other similar groups around the country providing the quintessential cricket afternoon.
Members asked what funding would be used for and how many people would come from Letchworth.
Mr Hill advised that any grant funding awarded would help towards the project costs, which included ECB coaches, venue hire, equipment and training of carers to take over as coaches. It was expected that most people would come from Letchworth.
Members expressed concern that negotiations had not already taken place with Letchworth Cricket Club regarding use of their pitches.
Mr Hill informed Members that there were some issues around accessibility at Letchworth Cricket Club, in that they were unsure which of the itches they would use. He advised that taster sessions had taken place and that the project was all ready to go except for funding issues.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Hill for his presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION- NORTH HERTS ROAD RUNNERS
Mr Richard Harbon thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the North Herts Road Runners as follows:
North Herts Road Runners had been operating for 30 years and this year planned to hold 5K and 1 mile road races as well as well as a childrens event, all based on well established principles.
The event would be held in Letchworth Town Centre, which would bring people into the Town and benefit local business.
The Club had worked hard over the last 5 years and now had over 100 participants who would take part in this start up event to be held on 10 July 2016.
Road closures were already being discussed and they were working together with Letchworth BID and NHDC Activities Team to promote the event.
Funding was requested to support this start up event, which would be self funding in future.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Harbon for his presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - RICHARD'S TRAMPOLINE CLUB
Miss Bethany Harley thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the Richards Trampoline Club as follows:
Richards Trampoline Club had been in operation for 10 years and was the only club of this sort in North Herts and Bedfordshire.
Most of the younger people attending the Club were from Letchworth.
There was a shortage of Level 2 coaches and one additional coach enabled a further 25 people to take part and were able to mentor parents towards becoming a coach themselves.
Grant funding would be used to part fund a level 2 coach.
Members asked how many people attended the Club and who would train the coach
Miss Harley informed Members that the Club met twice a week at North Herts Leisure Centre and that 35 people aged from 4 years to adult attended each session and that the British Gymnastics Association would train the coach, who was a member of the club.
The Communities Officer advised that she had spoken to the proposed coach, who assured her that she wanted to coach people within the Club.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Ms Harley for her presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - YVONNE SAVAGE CLUB FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Prior to the item being considered, Councillor Terry Hone declared an Interest as he knew Yvonne Savage, but he advised that this would not prevent him from taking part in the discussion and vote.
Mr Rodney Bywaters thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the Yvonne Savage Club for the Visually Impaired as follows:
The Yvonne Savage Club for the Visually Impaired was formed 18 years ago and now had 10 volunteers who provided a valuable service to 21 members of the Club.
They met monthly and provided a meal and entertainment at each meeting, with members paying subs of £6 plus a charge for the meal. For many members this was often the main outing out of the home
This Committee gave grant funding of £430 last year and they received funding from Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation towards the costs of providing Christmas lunch.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Bywaters for his presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - NORTH HERTS MINORITY ETHNIC FORUM
Mr Mohammed Alam thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum as follows:
The Forum was established in 1996 as an umbrella organisation which offered information, guidance and advice on matters such as housing and benefits to those who cant access other services.
The Forum services various clubs as well as educating children and young people in basic skills such as Maths and English.
Many parents were unable to afford to go on holiday and the Forum aimed to provide a 1 week boot camp which would focus on health and safety. Activities during the week would include workshops on healthy eating and fie safety, arts and crafts and general health for which a fee of £1 per session would be charged. Participants would be identified through Social Services and local schools.
Grant funding would be used to provide the fire training element.
Members were concerned that the Forum was applying for grant funding when it had large balances in the bank, received Lottery funding and paid workers a total of £78,000.
Mr Alam advised Members that the Forum had many projects underway and that much of the money in the bank was allocated to them. They currently employed 1 full time and 2 part time members of staff and the Lottery funding covered the wages of one of those members of staff.
Members queried who was providing the fire training, as this had previously been provided by the Fire Service free of charge.
Mr Alam advised that the Fire Service no longer provided this training and therefore some Fire-fighters had set up a Community Interest Company to enable them to continue for which a charge was made. In respect of the Boot Cam they would provide training for 5 hours a day for 5 days.
Members noted that the Forum was in receipt of Memorandum of Understanding funding in the sum of £10,500 per year and asked what this money was used for.
Mr Alam informed Members that the MoU funding paid for running costs, including the wages of the 2 part time members of staff as well as the costs of the Community Centres.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Alam for his presentation.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LETCHWORTH RUGBY CLUB
Mr Richard Sell thanked the Vice - Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for the Letchworth Rugby Club as follows:
Sport was important for both physical and mental health
Letchworth Rugby Club now had 250 members and were running after school Tag Rugby sessions in 10 schools.
The Rugby Football Union was funding coaching in 2 schools and the Club was funding coaching at Knights Templar.
They had been awarded £1,000 from the Letchworth Civic Trust towards scholarships.
The Club had 4 pitches, all in poor quality and only one was floodlit. The project was to purchase second hand floodlighting and a shipping container to store them in.
Members noted that there had been issues in the past regarding floodlighting and noise from the Club and asked whether they had applied for planning permission for the proposed lighting and or spoken to local providers about obtaining a shipping container.
Mr Sell informed Members that the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation told them they could have up to 4 containers but they had not yet spoken to the North Herts Planning Department.
Members queried why the Club had spent a lot of money on refurbishing the clubhouse, yet had neglected spending money on the pitches and asked why the Club wasnt funding the pitch improvements themselves.
Mr Sell advised that they were improving the whole infrastructure and that the club had been refurbished as this was the area that provided an income. At the end o0n 2014/15 the Club had £45,000 reserves, but they were relying on grant funding to make improvements.
The Vice - Chairman thanked Mr Sell for his presentation.
GRANTS AND COMMUNITY UPDATE
The Communities Officer presented the report of the Head of Policy and Community Services entitled Community Update and Grant Applications and drew attention to the following:
The 2015/16 had been fully allocated.
The budget for 2016/17 was £19,500.
If all of the grant applications this evening were awarded full funding this would amount to £10,153.
In view of the reduction in available grant funding, Baldock Committee had chosen to reduce the amount given to each applicant.
Members noted that the Discretionary Budget had been reduced by approximately 55 percent and discussed that, once Cabinet had considered the new Grants Policy, the Committee should have a discussion about funding priorities.
They asked that the Cabinet Minute regarding consideration of the new Grants Policy be circulated to Members
A lot of people had made enquiries or came to talk to Councillors at the last Surgery.
KY Activities had sent a written thank you for the grant funding award.
The Festival fortnight would start on 11 June 2016, with the first event being held in the Town Centre and the final event being Armed Forces Day.
Banners on Broadway Gardens advertising this were removed as they did not have permission.
JACKIE'S DROP IN
A business plan was being drawn up.
Work had commenced on the new premises, with a target date to move in on 3 September 2016
THE COMMITTEE NOTED:
(1) The budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards from the Development and Visioning Budgets;
(2) The actions taken by the Community Development Officer to promote greater community capacity and well-being for Letchworth Garden City;
(3) That the Committee and Member Services Officer be requested to circulate the Cabinet Minute regarding consideration of the new Grants Policy to all Members of the Committee.
GRANT APPLICATION - WEDNESDAY DROP IN
Members noted the similarity of services offered by the Wednesday Drop In to those offered by Jackies Drop In. and were commented that organisations offering similar services should be signposted towards each other and that these organisations would have to consider more effective ways of delivering services, including working together wherever possible.
They agreed that, on this occasion funding of £1,000 should be awarded, but that evidence that investigations regarding joint working had taken place would be needed prior to any future funding being considered. They also asked that the Drop In be advised that future funding could not be guaranteed.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
(1) That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £1,000 be awarded to the Wednesday Drop In from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of rent and public liability insurance;
(2) That the Communities Officer advise Wednesday Drop In that future funding cannot be guaranteed.
GRANT APPLICATION - HERTFORDSHIRE DISABLED CRICKET ASSOCIATION
Members expressed some concern about the sustainability of the proposed project and that the Cricket Club was charging for use of their facilities.
They agreed that the project should receive start up funding of £800.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £800 be awarded to the Hertfordshire Disabled Cricket Association from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of providing weekly session of cricket for people with disabilities.
GRANT APPLICATION - NORTH HERTS ROAD RUNNERS
Members were appreciative of this well costed application and good presentation and agreed that grant funding of £1,500 should be awarded.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £1,500 be awarded to North Herts Road Runners from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of a providing a community running event in Letchworth Town Centre.
GRANT APPLICATION - RICHARD'S TRAMPOLINE CLUB
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £250 be awarded to Richards Trampoline Club from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards training costs for additional coaches to meet demand.
GRANT APPLICATION - YVONNE SAVAGE CLUB FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Members supported granting of £460 to Yvonne Savage Club for the Visually Impaired on this occasion but asked that the Club be advised that future funding could not be guaranteed.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
(1) That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £460 be awarded to Yvonne Savage Club for the Visually Impaired from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of ongoing administration;
(2) That the Communities Officer advise the Yvonne Savage Club for Visually Impaired that future funding cannot be guaranteed.
GRANT APPLICATION - NORTH HERTS MINORTY ETHNIC FORUM
The Communities Officer informed Members that this was a well thought out project, which was being part funded from the Forums reserves.
Part of the project was to provide fire training, which had previously been provided free of charge, but this was no longer possible and they were now charging for the service through a Community Interest Company.
Members noted that the North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum had large balances and were in receipt of NHDC Memorandum of Understanding funding in the sum of £10,500.
They considered that NHDC were providing sufficient grant funding and agreed that the application for grant funding by North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum be refused.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum be refused grant funding.
GRANT APPLICATION - HERTS YOUNG CARERS
The Communities Officer informed Members that Herts Young Carers had applied for grant funding from other Area Committees to fund transport costs associated with young people from that area.
Members acknowledged that the Group met a significant community need and were fully supportive of awarding grant funding.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that grant funding of £1,400 be awarded to Herts Young Carers from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of providing services to 5 young people from Letchworth.
GRANT APPLICATION - LETCHWORTH RUGBY CLUB
Members were concerned that the Club had chosen to refurbish the clubhouse rather than upgrade the pitches.
There was grave concern that the Club had not investigated the necessary consents and permissions including Planning Permission and discussion with Environmental Health regarding noise.
They agreed that they would not wish to fund a project without these consents and permissions in place and therefore that the application should be deferred until such time as these had been obtained.
THE COMMITTEE SUGGESTED:
That the Head of Policy and Community Services together with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs consider that Letchworth Rugby Club be advised that the grant application be deferred pending receipt of further detail such as confirmation that the necessary consents and permissions, including planning permission, have been obtained.
INFORMATION NOTE - NHDC POLICY IN REGARD TO THE FUNDING OF TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIPS/BID COMPANIES
The Committee received and Information Note entitled NHDC Policy in regard to the Funding of Town Centre Partnerships/BID Companies.
WARD AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS REPORTS
LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BID)
Councillor David Levett informed Members that he had been attending BID meetings and that things were moving forward.
The Food and Drink Festival was a great success, with good feedback received from shopkeepers.