Tim Leaman (Chair of the NP) welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.
At the start of the meeting there were two short presentations which were not on the agenda but had been agreed by the Chair.
1a ACORN (the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now)
Karen van Hoey Smith representing ACORN explained how this organisation, founded by residents of Easton, Bristol is a community based union which is campaigning for the voluntary reform of the private rented sector (PRS) in Bristol. There are 43,000 private renters in Bristol and 15,000 are now ACORN members.
ACORN promotes a scheme it calls “The Ethical Lettings Charter” Residential letting and managing agents or landlords can sign up to ACORN’s Charter on a voluntary basis. The campaign has been backed by Bristol City Council demonstrating its support for improving property conditions and management for private tenants in Bristol. Karen indicated that she also represented ACORN on Bristol Homes Board.
One project currently being delivered by ACORN is ‘Renters Rising’ which is a community organising workshop & skillshare for renters. It is a chance for renters to collaborate and learn together, and to share skills and ideas.
It was noted that the NP could support the cause by spreading the word, or as individuals get involved by volunteering or donations. Training is provided and activities include organising friends, colleagues, and neighbours to take action together, educating the local community, running a campaign, or building local solidarity activities to change communities for the better.
There would be a peaceful protest taking place on Monday 19th December from 10.00am at 26 Saltmarsh Drive, Lawrence Weston. This family including four children were being evicted just before Christmas because they could not afford the rent which had been significantly increased by a private landlord.
Local Contact Karen 07708229871
Post: ACORN, CWU Building, 20 Church Rd, Bristol, BS5 9JA
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1b Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston NP Achievements – Dec 2016 & Current BCC budget situation
Keith Houghton, NP Co-ordinator gave a presentation of NP Achievements under the following headings:
· Active Citizenship, Equalities and Community Cohesion
· Community Buildings and facilities
· Environment, Parks and Streetscene, Pollution & Quality of Life, Green Capital
· Families, Younger & Older People
It was noted that a wide range of projects had been delivered using devolved NP budget to improve the local area.
Keith Houghton reported that BCC has a current-year Revenue over-spend of £27million to recover. Therefore BCC has frozen all expenditure, except essential maintenance/repair and statutory service delivery. This is to identify and remove the overspend from this year’s budget in order to achieve a balanced year end budget.
Under the circumstance, all new Wellbeing spend is frozen which included the recommended allocations in todays agenda, however, wellbeing funding already committed would be honoured. All NP budget that hasn’t already been committed is also frozen except Section 106, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and any money held by NPs from external sources outside BCC.
It was noted that in terms of the agenda today, the NP could accept and take forward the £5,000 Transformers funding for young people’s projects (it’s from Police Community Trust) and could decide about Section 106 monies. The NP also still had £10,000 from the Avonmouth Wind Turbines development to use for NP priorities. The position with regard to the status of the Port Communities Resilience Fund (frozen or not) was currently unclear, however it was confirmed that clarification would be sought. Action Keith Houghton/Robin McDowall.
It was noted that there was an opportunity to influence the next five years of life in Bristol and help with the budget challenge by commenting on BCC Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 ‘Big decisions, tough choices’.
Hard copies of the summary were available at the meeting and the full document is on the councils website www.bristol.gov.uk/corpstrategy