You elected me – (2)

It has been 6 months and 30 days since you elected me your Councillor for Caversham.

So what have I been up to? 

After being elected I set out my aims in my first blog post (read it here).

My goals were to:

1.    Work with the Reading Climate Change Strategy & Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) and interview the Chair of RCCP as part of my YouTube educational series on sustainability.

2.    Work to positively contribute to sustainability and the environment.

3.    Work with delivery partners such as Brunel university and London Climate change partnership to deliver a ‘Climate Change Knowledge Exchange workshop’ to encourage residents, business and the council to adopt suitable initiatives.

4.    Work with the council to transform the existing meadows across Caversham into Bee meadows that would help pollinators, insects and bees.

5.    Work to create a group of environment and ecology enthusiasts to support their communities.

6.    Support my fellow ward colleagues in the existing proposal for a Cycle/Pedestrian route from Nire Road to Henley Road.

7.    Work to establish training for young people on practical life skills e.g finance, first aid, accommodation rights, personal health etc

So how did I measure up?

Reading Climate Change Strategy, Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) and Climate Change Educational YouTube Series

I attended the launch of the Climate Change Strategy, joined the Water Theme (a part of the Reading Borough Climate Strategy) and interviewed Chris Beales Chair of RCCP on my YouTube channel. Interviews available here.

Flood Risk Awareness and Climate Change

As your Councillor for Caversham, I had received correspondence and had many conversations about the proposed flood defence scheme. To support residents in understanding flood risk, I organised an event on ‘Flood Risk Awareness and climate change adaption’ on the 19th. The event featured guest speaker Chris Beales, Chair of Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) and Hydrologist with over 20 years of experience. In his role as chair of RCCP he spoke about flood risk, resilience and climate change adaption. It was an informative event where I collated questions from residents to get answers from the Environment Agency.

Plastic Free Caversham

Local community activist Anne Marie wrote to me to inquire about sustainability initiatives and to seek support for a proposal to make Caversham more sustainable. She and I joined forces on a campaign to lead Caversham to become an National Marine Conversation Surfers against Sewage (SAS) accredited “plastic free community”. We started a steering committee which I now chair. We had our 1st meeting on the 11th September at the Civic where we set volunteer actions to achieve our objective of eliminating non-essential single use plastics such as straws, cups, bags, bottles, etc.

Some of our first actions are to: engage the local community and raise awareness, sign up local businesses, community centres and schools to commit to the initiative and become plastic free.

The steering committee are passionate about this work, with many of them worried about the future of the planet for their children.

At Christmas, we had a plastic free Caversham stall to spread the word and there were workshops to raise the profile on sustainability.

Next year, we hope to undertake a plastic free unwrapping event, litter picking and achieve SAS single use plastic free accreditation for Caversham.

Bee Meadow

I am still passionate to deliver Bee meadows in Caversham, I have had meeting with the lead Councillor for the Culture, Heritage and Recreation portfolio and officers to get a map on current wild grass and sites were wild grass could be adopted. I drafted a motion on ‘Increase Wildflowers and Reduce Glyphosate Usage‘ originally for the October Policy committee meeting but I hope to push it through next year.

Other activities

·  I continue to represent residents on committees I sit on: Vice Chair of Planning Application Committee, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee and Parenting panel.

·  I attend council surgery opens to residents of Caversham to relay their concerns and issues and work on their behalf to resolves any problems.

·  I have supported the Labour candidates in the national elections and campaigns such as Supporting Reading Goal.

What next?

I aim to continue gaining expertise in my role as a Councillor to better represent residents on the committees I sit on and to continue to support residents. If you are interested in any of the areas I have spoken about, please do get in touch at ayo.sokale@reading.gov.uk 

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