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Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Minutes:

Questions to the Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

 

Councillor Vizzard asked the following question of the Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee:

 

A while ago, a decision was made by the Councillors that Maidstone would become a Dementia-Friendly Town.  Some training was undertaken by the Council for Members, Officers, staff and businesses.  Assuming that this training is not-on-going, what initiatives has MBC afforded to businesses and retailers to take forward this promise of Maidstone becoming a Dementia-Friendly Town?

 

The Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee replied that:

 

The Council has continued to promote Maidstone as being a Dementia-Friendly Town through a range of activities including:

 

·  A dementia-friendly walk around Mote Park designed to stimulate walkers’ senses while providing a safe and enjoyable walk around the Park.  It includes interpretation posts and sound posts which encourage walkers to listen to the sounds of the Park and explore the plants and environment through smell and touch.  There is also a leaflet to accompany the mile long walk which was developed by the Council following training from Dementia Adventure and with funding from Maidstone Age UK.

 

·  Through the Healthy Business Awards local businesses are encouraged to sign up to be a dementia-friendly organisation as part of the mental health well-being theme.

 

·  The Maidstone Museum was one of four working with University College London in 2015/16 to provide activities for people identified through GP surgeries as having mild dementia.  The Museum offered tea and chat based around museum objects which were available and carefully chosen to spark conversation among the age group selected (in our case over 65s).  This project was recently shortlisted for a Royal Society for Public Health Award, and we await the final result.

 

·  The Museum also hosts the monthly Café Culture, aimed at people over 65 who consider themselves to be socially isolated.  Several of the group (39 on the list at present) have some form of mild dementia (as identified through the Museums on Prescription project).  Sessions vary from formal speakers to informal coffee and chat sessions in the Café.  Carers from two care homes have also brought their clients to the sessions.

 

·  The Learning and Events Officer at the Museum attends Dementia Friendly Communities meetings, and receives updates via email, and staff at the Museum have visited centres for people with dementia taking objects to handle and talk about and craft activities to try.

 

·  The Council is exploring the possibility of providing further dementia- friendly awareness training as there has been natural turnover of staff since it was last delivered.

 

Councillor Vizzard asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee:

 

What arrangements have been made by the Council to make information about these initiatives available to people suffering from dementia and their carers?

 

The Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee replied that he would look into this matter, and respond direct to Councillor Vizzard.

 

Questions to the Chairman of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee

 

Councillor J Sams asked the following question of the Chairman of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee:

 

Can you please confirm what charge was made to the organisers of Maidstone Mela for the use of Whatman Park and its facilities?

 

The Chairman of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee replied that:

 

The Council’s Grounds Maintenance Team was asked to provide a quotation to the organisers of the event for the provision of waste collection and a toilet attendant.  The Council’s quotation of £605 included the provision of a toilet attendant for 7 hours and the provision of 10 euro-bins for the disposal of all waste from the event.  However, there is no contractual obligation for those hiring our parks to use the Council’s services, but on this occasion, the event organiser chose to do so.

 

Furthermore, it is usual for the Council to charge both a hire and disruption fee to organisers of large events taking place in our parks.  For charitable events hosting more than 1,000 people, the combined fee would typically be in the region of £800.

 

However, as a means of supporting our Destination Management Plan, the Council is particularly keen to encourage more events in Whatman Park, and so on this occasion, the Council did not charge a fee nor for the Officer time spent supporting the planning of this event.

 

Councillor J Sams asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the

Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee:

 

Can the Council be proactive in supporting the delivery of next year’s Mela?  We all want to celebrate diversity, we have all enjoyed the Mela in the past, and it must not be perceived that the Borough Council has washed its hands of it.  The programme included a list of supporters, one of which was Kent County Council, but there was not a Borough Council logo on there.  Can the charge and the support be discussed at the next meeting of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee?

 

The Chairman of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee replied that:

 

We will be discussing this at our next meeting.  I intend to talk to the Officers about all the events we hold in the Borough.  We do love the Mela, it was a wonderful weekend that we had in the Park.  We need to look as a Council at how we deliver and how we facilitate events, and make sure contracts are drawn up correctly etc.  I’m not saying that they were not on this occasion, but we have to make sure going forward that we mean what we say we will do, and support all the events that we can support in Maidstone.  I for one want to make Maidstone the event capital of Kent; we need every event, and the Mela is a great example of cultural diversity in the Borough.

 

Councillor Willis entered the meeting at the conclusion of this item (6.55 p.m.).

 

 

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