Supporting Ukrainian Arrivals
Councillor Bettison OBE, Leader of the Council reported that to date 154 individuals had registered to come to Bracknell Forest through the homes for Ukraine scheme and 86 guests were known to have arrived. He expanded that 50 DBS checks had been completed and 69 accommodation checks, 57 school places had been processed (28 homes for Ukraine and 29 family visa). 85 guests had been visited by the family link worker and 393 people were on the expressions of interest list and the council had plans and ability to re-match guests to new hosts. A supporting Ukraine event had been held at the Community Hub in Time Square which was attended by approximately 100 people from both. The event was attended by Department for Work and Pensions, the Open Learning Centre, Education, Housing, Community Safety Partnership, Engagement Team, social prescribers, NHS, Involve, Vsi Razom community group. Individual community contacts were being maintained through the Community Engagement Officer. Ongoing fortnightly engagement meetings were being organised with voluntary, community and faith groups to share information, address issues, problem solve and collaborate. Officers from the Chief Executive’s office were working with VSI Razom community group to support a 3-day community festival in Bracknell. Lexicon landlords (Schroders) had approved a licence for 21A-B Princess Square to set up a Community Hub for supporting Ukrainian families. This would be operated by the community group Vsi Razom and the Kerith Church had agreed to sign the agreement until such a time that Vsi Razom was able to do so themselves. Razom were being supported by the Involve, Kerith Centre, the council and other partners to launch the hub for an initial six-month period.
Binfield Health and Community Hub
The Mayor advised that the new Binfield Health and Community Centre had reached a key milestone in its construction on Monday 11 July, as the project team celebrated its topping out ceremony. The metal deck had been completed on top of the building which was made up of a double height hall, multi-use meeting and activity space, GP consultation and examination rooms and minor procedures room in the Blue Mountain site in Binfield.
Timothy Wheadon, Chief Executive advised the meeting that the Bracknell Forest Giants event programme had won a prestigious placemaking award. Industry experts had agreed that the Bracknell Forest Giants, which captured the hearts and imaginations of Bracknell town visitors the previous August, were the worthy winners. He was pleased to confirm that the Giants would return to the town centre this summer as part of the Bracknell Forest Festival.
Energy Efficiency Awards.
Councillor Mrs Hayes, MBE, Executive Member for the Environment was pleased to report that Bracknell Forest Council had won the Regional Council or Local Authority Body of the Year award at the South East Regional Energy Efficiency Awards. Hazel Hill, Sustainable Energy Officer explained to the meeting that the Local Authority of the Year award recognised all the work achieved over the previous year, including:
· conducting improvement work to the borough’s most fuel inefficient homes, almost 700 households in the past year
· consulting with new developments in the borough to ensure they meet renewable energy requirements
· bidding for government grants to fund future improvement work, such as insulation and cavity walls to make homes in the borough more energy efficient
· identifying homes still using electric storage heaters and connecting them to the mains gas network
She stated that Bracknell Forest had been named as having the 5th lowest number of people in fuel poverty in the UK and the borough also had an average of a band C Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating across all its homes.
Bracknell Forest obesity project
Councillor Birch, Executive Member for Adult Social, Health and Housing announced to the meeting that the Public Health team were working with the University of Southampton on a project to reduce obesity levels. A Bullbrook resident, Kiran Meka, who is a senior research fellow at the University was leading the project bringing together a diverse team to create a whole system approach towards obesity in Bracknell Forest.
The Mayor advised the meeting that he had attended a local fundraising event to raise funds for Tara Cunningham Harris, an officer from the Council, who was battling bowel cancer. The Mayor reported that it was heart-warming to see so many people in the community supporting her cause and joining in the event which included an auction, live music and a raffle.