Its Cllr Sokale remember you elected me to serve Caversham in May 2019 🙂
It’s the next instalment in my blog post where I update you on what I have being up to. It has being 10 months since my last blog post and boy have I being busy.
So What have I being up to?
I have been attending my usual committees:
Vice Chair of Planning Application Committee. My role on this committee has carried on throughout lockdown with some important applications being determined. You can watch my most recent committee on the 2nd December here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amERWREKq6g&feature=youtu.be
Parenting panel – Corporate parenting is so important to me. Throughout lockdown, we held our usual meetings, safe-guarding training and workshops with our looked-after children. I am proud of the work we take to ensure the best possible care and safeguarding.
Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee – My role as a member on the committee has not carried on in lock-down due to the reduced number of members meeting for virtual meeting.
I also attend my external meeting on the AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Local Liason Meeting, in our last meeting in November. The AWE celebrated 70 years of AWE ensuring our national Safety And security. Find out more about AWE and their history here: https://www.awe.co.uk/about-us/our-history/
You email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I undertake Casework on your behalf.
As the three Labour Caversham Ward councillors, we answer all your email and address case work with each councilor taking responsibilities for cases relevant to their committees and expertise.
When I was elected, in my campaign material I vowed to be the voice for residents. I have continued to deliver in this.
I attend the North of the River Safer Neighbourhood Forum and voice issues that concern residents and get answer on issues pertaining to safety and security.
I also pick up issues raised in online groups such as Caversham Gossip girls and get those issues resolved in a timely manner e. g Road works , Beggars etc
I was really inspired by the local campaigners and their work engaging with ward councillors on the Caversham One Way System. http://news.reading.gov.uk/caversham-one-way-systems-to-be-removed/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn
My Other Activities:
When campaigning I advertised my background as civil engineer and an eco-warrior.
I have continued work in this vein.
In my last blog post, I spoke of my work with Reading Climate Change Partnership. I continued my involvement in the water theme to support the development of Reading’s Recent Climate Strategy.
I presented at the #ReadingCan Reading Climate Change Festival event – ‘Rivers of Reading’ about my work in flood engineering, community and diversity.
2) Plastic Free Caversham Litter Pick
As you know, my greatest passion as a councilor has being my work with Anne Marie in founding the Plastic Free Caversham group and chairing it.
In February, we held a litter pick and Mass Plastic Unwrap at Waitrose. The Mass Unwrap at Waitrose was part of the Surfers Against Sewer Plastic Free Communities Campaign, the purpose of a Mass Unwrap is to show the high levels of plastic packaging being used and put pressure on supermarkets to help make changes. It’s one of a number of actions the local group in Caversham are taking as they try to reduce the impact of single use plastic in the area such as working with local businesses, community groups and schools.
See Press on Plastic Free Caversham events https://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/environment/151230/volunteers-fill-40-bin-bags-with-rubbish-during-litter-pick.html?fbclid=IwAR3XHBCQWnZqR0e7a4BQ1iZAD4Cdwj8mVzMm0C1QF3bQsPIpKObv-z0NtjQ
In past year, Plastic Free Caversham has achieved a lot from awarding local business ‘Plastic Free Champion Approved’ Status Award for example the Weller Centre.
In October, we held litter picking event in Christchurch meadows in a social distanced way and Rachel Barker a fantastic member of the steering group worked with local businesses to secure awesome prizes to encourage the wider community to get involved. It was another litter picking success.
We will be holding another litter pick before the end of the year on Sunday 14th December, meeting at midday at the Fox and Hound. I hope to see lots of you there.
3) Influencing in Council
As you know, I am a keen advocate on wildflower as per the sadly cancelled event with Honey of Henley due to Covid and the Motion I spoke of in my last blog post . Though the full council was cancelled by working with Cllr Rowland the Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage & Recreation, I have being able to push the inclusion of wildflowers across the borough. Find out more about Reading commitment to Rewilding here: http://orlo.uk/Rewilding-Mowing_MNhMr
4) Supporting local groups
Covid: It has being a tough year for many people. I am heartened by seeing how we have all come together and supported one another. I want to take this blog post to thank all the community groups and charities that have pulled together. Shout out to the Weller Centre, BWA, One Reading Community hub and all the other fantastic organizations.
I have witnessed first hand the work of the team at the Weller center in my time there, they have created care packages for the community and saved the Christmas spirit with their events.
Anti-racism and Black History on the Curriculum
Following tragic global event, I wanted to find a way to be useful and to ease the pain felt in the community. Please see my blog post BLACK LIVES MATTER!!
I am keen on creating a pipeline of diverse talent into politics. Check out this YouTube Video, I did with local Caversham resident and Business women Gina Knight on ‘How to be a councilor & magistrate’
Following speaking at the BLM protest and this interview with Gina Knight. I began my work in earnest on Anti-racism and promoting black history. I worked with the lead member for education, Cllr Pearce and Cllr Rowland. The result of that has being Reading Museum amazing resources of black history and it ties to Reading which is now available as a resources for school. There is other brilliant work in progress with RICS, BFCC and Reading Council’s talented officers.
I am also working with Joshua Academy on a live project, ‘Politics in a box’ to ensure politics can be for everyone. I joined the Joshua Academy Event where we debated ‘Should Black History Be included in the National Curriculum?’. I also joined BBC Berkshire to talk about the importance of getting Black history on the curriculum. You can listen to the interview here.
Interviews & Publications
I believe in the power of community and grass root activism to get the job done. To hear more about this, read my publication here.
If you would like to hear more about my points on view. Please check out my interview with Doris on the coach here.
I also joined Sussex Write and the Youth Cafe Africa in their ‘Ask an Expert’ series on disinformation in the time of Covid-19 and the impact on politics. Please see that here.
Reading faced a challenge to its spirit this year and I was amazed by how the Town came together and stood together in solidarity. I attended a flower laying ceremony with the Shadow Home Secretary, our MP for Reading East Matt Rodda, the Police commission for Thames Valley, representatives from the BAME community, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian faith communities, ACRE, Pride and the LGBT+ community in Reading. We all came together to honour the beautiful lives of Joe Ritchie-Bennett, James Furlong and David Wails lost in such a tragic way.
What can you expect next?
If you are concerned about plastic and would like to see the introduction of a plastic bottle deposit scheme. Please sign my petition here:
Thank you all. It’s being a pleasure to serve you for another year.
As you know, I live in Caversham and you probably see me around Caversham on my daily walk. If you do, please wave and smile 😊
Please Note: I am proud of my work for the community and give my role my very best. Prior, to posting any negative comments, please do remember I am 27 years old and work full time as well as volunteer in multiple capacities.