Cllr Sokale – October 2021 update

Council Committees

Since my last update, I have been attending the committee’s in which I represent residents on, these are primarily on the following committees;

  • Adult social care, children’s services and education
  • Housing, Neighbourhood and Leisure
Image of me attending ASCE. I thanked RBH for their work throughout the pandemic and their impressive progress on adopting holistic care, taking a community approach and holistic one with Public Health England, moving toward community care, using digital delivery and the expertise of Reading University Built environment team to make progress towards carbon, their work on ensuring continued speed with getting those diagnosed with cancer their first treatment (62 days) . They are an example for Berkshire, and I am pleased they are sharing their lesson learnt with other trust. Well done RBH.
Thank to Deborah and Cllr Pearce for answering my question on how residents can challenge if there are unhappy with the level of accessibility/reasonable adjustment being provided their children and young person in regard to any disability whether physical impairments, learning difficulties, sensory impairments and mental impairments

Casework

Also, I continue to pick up casework and undertake work on behalf of residents, undertake door knocking and engage with residents. An example of this would be, the work my ward colleagues and I have being undertaking to canvass and collate residents of King road views around on having their alley ways cleared and gate installed. The council had undertaken a survey, which we have followed up with our own survey and weekend speaking to resident to understand the views of those against and for and the constraints needed to be met if alley gate were to be implemented.

Out with Cllr Barnett Ward door knocking to canvass residents views on the proposed gates.

Community Events

I engage with multi-agency, businesses and community leaders through attending meetings in the community.

  1. The North of the River Safer Neighbour Forum (NRSNF) where with the police in attendance we have valuable discussions on keeping the community safe.
  2. Caversham Traders – where I attend to hear the views of the business in Reading and pick up actions required to support them.
  3. Churches Together Reading – where the churches have been leading meeting where multi-agency are pulled together in order to collaborate and tackle the increase in knife crime.
  4. Royal Berkshire Hospital – I had a meeting with the programme manager about how they an adopt more sustainable practice’s in their new development.
  5. New Meaning Charity – I met with the Jess and I have being supporting the charity to make links with the necessary community leads. New meaning are working with Plastic Free Caversham to launch the design of water refill station branding competition to engage the young people in the community.
Cllr Clarence Mitchell and I at the meeting organized by Churches together Reading to tackle knife crime.

 Special Projects

In addition, I continue to undertake additional projects to add further value to the wider town and all its residents.

  • Plastic Free Caversham (PFC) – I co-founded Plastic Free Caversham in 2019 and we are working hard to secure the last few community allies required to achieve plastic free accreditation for Caversham ward. In addition, we fundraised selling bamboo cups over summer for a water refill station for St Martin Precinct (Church Street). I have been leading conversation with Thames Water, and they have offered to gift the refill station to us and installation (with support from PFC’s fundraising endeavours), leaving the long-term cost of maintenance to be covered. I am working with Thames water to outline a long-term maintenance schedule and cost to create a business case to presented at the Council’s Land Property Development Board for a decision. The long-term aims is this acts as a pilot and such an initiative can be rolled out across Reading.
  • We are also planning a ‘Plastic Free Caversham Festive Event’ on the 4th December 2-6pm at the Weller Centre. This will be an event for families and the whole communities to come together. To get involved in the planning reach out to me directly or via the Plastic Free Caversham Facebook page here.
Rachel and I at the Caversham Artisan fundraising for Plastic Free Caversham
  • Unconscious bias Training – I arranged unconscious bias training for all of Reading’s elected representatives (Councillors and MPs alike), this was delivered by the doctoral candidate at Reading University, Natasha Robson.
  • Reading Museum Workshop –I created and launched a Workshop titled ‘How to be an active citizen – the future it is in your hand’ – the aim of this session was to engage young people over the age of 14 on how local and national government works and how they can take an active role in their communities and make lasting impact.
  • Black History – I have continued to work with Reading Museum on increasing education on black history and now they have launched their Virtual Black history session.  This available for primary and secondary schools here.
Cllr Sokale attending the Reading Museum Windrush session
  • Diverse Councils working group – co-chaired by Baroness Debbie Wilcox and Cllr Anntoinette Bramble with the objective of sharing recommendation to be shared and adopted by all the councils in England to address the cultural, leadership and policy barriers and drivers which contribute to lack of local democratic representation. The objective is to develop a motion over the next 6 months that can be adopted by all council in England, following in the footsteps on Welsh council to increase diversity in the elected representative.

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