Cllr Sokale – June 2021 Update

Council Year 2021-22

My committees:  

Its June 2021. And I am 2 years into to a 3-year elected term as your Labour and Co-operative Councillor for Caversham in Reading Borough.

For the past two years, I have represented Caversham and Reading on the following committees:

  • Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee
  • Planning Applications Committee (Vice-Chair)
  • Planning Management Committee
  • Parenting Panel
  • AWE Aldermaston – Local Liaison Committee

This year, I have changed my committees. I will represent Caversham and Reading on the following committees in my final year:

  • Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee
  • Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee
  • Investigating and Disciplinary Committee (May 2021- Current)

Plastic Free Caversham  

The story of Plastic Free Caversham

Following, the fantastic motion by Cllr Eden in July 2019 on Plastic.  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 a National Marine Conversation Surfers against Sewage (SAS) accredited “plastic free community” in August 2019. In September 2019, we held our first steering group meeting where all the volunteers and I met to outline the actions required to achieve our objective of eliminating non-essential single use plastics such as straws, cups, bags, bottles, etc.

What Plastic Free Caversham has achieved so far?

–         Christmas 2019: We held a plastic free Caversham stall to raise the awareness on how to be more sustainable at Christmas.

–         February 2020:  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

–         We held several Litter picks. You can read some Press on Plastic Free Caversham successful litter picks here.

–         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.

Pandemic Impact

Despite the pandemic, we have kept the momentum going. We have held less regular meeting, but we have kept the work going. We held litter picking event in Christchurch meadows in a social distanced way and Rachel from 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.

What’s happening now?

Plastic Free Caversham is on the last leg of the journey to Plastic Free Accreditation. We got all the businesses signed up that we need. However, we n`eed two more schools and many more community allies.  Please get in contact to be part of this.

For Plastic Free July (https://www.plasticfreejuly.org) we are working to launch our fundraising events in Caversham. The aim of the fundraiser is to deliver a public drinking water fountain.

Why is this so important?

Plastic Free Caversham is a leading the way and the aim is to extend this work to achieve Plastic Free Reading accreditation for the whole town. This objective is described in the ‘Reading Climate Emergency Strategy 2020-25.

Election Success

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Thanks to all the resident that re-elected my ward colleague, Richard Davies for another year of service.

AGM 2021

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We are now back to in-person council meeting after a year of virtual meetings.

Alleyways

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We ran a survey on your views on the alleyways. Did you have your say?

Reading Museum – Black History  

This past year I had being working with Reading Museum. We started working together following the tragedy of George Floyd to increase education on black history in lieu of Central Government changing the curriculum. They have been fantastic and have being working on some fantastic project that I must share with you.

They deliver engaging session on Roman Britain. There are some fantastic resources on Migration in Romans times and diversity faces at that time. Please see below:

https://www.reading.ac.uk/archae…/about/arch-outreach.aspx

http://www.romansrevealed.com/

https://www.ourmigrationstory.org.uk/…/roman-britain…

They have also been running amazing virtual inset day training teachers to deliver these engaging and informative session. Believe me, I have attended, and they are fantastic. They are also planning an event of Windrush day in collaboration with ACRE and Age UK on the 22nd June. In the mean-time you can register to attend their 30minute virtual Windrush session here: https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/…/virtual-introduction…

Nationwide Representation

My Caversham Councillor and I attended a video call with the Regional Manager and PR manager from the Nationwide to share your views and concerns on the closure of the bank. The meeting was organised by Matt Rodda and attended by Caversham Traders’ Association Chair Chris Walton, CADRA Chair Helen Lambert.

Sustainability conversation

Anne Marie and I, co-founders of Plastic Free Caversham attended the ‘Circular Coffee and Conversation’ which you can watch online here: https://youtu.be/FgdJL91jZOI

Amersham Road Estates

Residents flagged their concerns about the noisy bikes and anti-social behaviour.

I held the ‘Amersham Motorbike Public Meeting’ on the 12th May at 6pm. This meeting was supported by Thames Valley Police, The North of the River Safer Neighbour Forum Chair and the council anti-social behaviour meeting.

The outcome of the meeting was the call to action to: report all crime via 101. I appreciate the use of Facebook for discussion and organization and its massively valuable, but the police need crime reported via 101 and in case of reporting the issues pertaining to Motorbikes, PC Havers offered you can email: PeppardandCavershamNHPT@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.

If you would like to share your experience with Motorbikes or other Anti-social behaviour but couldn’t make the meeting on the 12th May, you can submit a statement sharing your experience to the email address above. Thanks for those who attended the meeting and represented the community’s views

Outreach to Young People

I am passionate about increasing community awareness about what ‘everyone’ can do to make a difference. This started off as a project ‘Politics in a Box’ – this has now morphed to be ‘Politics in your hands’ – delivering workshop to young people in Reading in collaboration with Reading Museum. The first workshop will be September and I can’t wait to share updates soon.

Getting involved in the community ‘- 2022 Opportunity’

2022 bring the all outs election where every elected councillor will have to run for re-election if they want to keep their seats. This means that they are 48 seats available – 48 opportunity to represent your community. I hope to encourage those who care about their community to consider representing it.

To find out more about being a councillor for any party, see here.

For more information and personal thoughts from me, on what a councillor is and what they do, see Interview with Gina Knight here: https://youtu.be/Z8zovMiNcAI

How to contact me?

Thank you all for engaging with me on social media and flagging issues. My preference for Casework is that you contact me on my council email address: ayo.sokale@reading.gov.uk

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