Notice of Motion
This item is to receive any Notices of Motion: one has been received and is attached.
That the Notice of Motion be received and supported.
The following Notice of Motion had been submitted by the Liberal Democrat Group.
“This Council recognises the extreme hardship residents are suffering under the Cost-of-Living Crises. Growing numbers of residents, especially those using domestic heating oil (not protected by the domestic energy price cap) are entering a period of fuel poverty and will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. Even now, before winter, many residents are already in fuel poverty.
“Warm Hubs” are warm and friendly environments in which to enjoy refreshments, social activity, information and advice and respite from social isolation. Warm hubs can be based in civic and public buildings, which are already heated and open to the public such as libraries, in community asset buildings, church and village hall and other businesses such as cafes that may be happy to sign up to be scheme.
This Council acknowledges the Warm Hubs are unlikely to generate revenue and will not expect visitors to buy teas, coffees or otherwise spend money to stay in the warmth. Warm Hubs are community resource, recognising that if someone is in fuel poverty, they should be helped to conserve their financial resources and not feel pressured into spending money in order to stay in a warm, public environment
Therefore this Council resolves:
- To liaise with partner organisation and provide Warm Hubs throughout the County of Flintshire
- To work with Members and Town & Community Councils to identify suitable premises in each ward; and
- To provide advertising materials for Members and Town & Community Councils to raise awareness of Warm Hubs within their communities.”
In speaking to the Notice of Motion, Councillor Coggins Cogan said that it was horrifying that, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the Council was having to consider ”Warm Hubs”.
He felt the assistance from the UK Government would not make a difference as further increases in energy bills were predicted. He expressed disbelief at the tax breaks given to high earners but the vulnerable were being left to fend for themselves. Because of this his group was proposing the establishment of Warm Hubs utilising premises which were available in the county with the support of third sector organisations.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Welsh Language, Culture and Leisure accepted the Notice of Motion on behalf of Cabinet. At a meeting held the previous day, Cabinet actioned most of what was contained in the Notice of Motion, and he echoed the sentiments of Councillor Coggins Cogan that the sixth largest economy in the world had to provide Warm Hubs for its citizens. He also wished to be associated with the comments made regarding the tax breaks for high earners.
Councillor Richard Jones felt confident that all Members would support the principle and intent of the Notice of Motion. He queried the words “Warm Hubs” and asked if an alternative name could be used.
Councillor Ibbotson expressed his concern on what was facing residents this winter. He confirmed that during the previous months a huge amount of work had been undertaken by the Liberal Democrat group, Cabinet, Officers and his colleague Councillor Simon Jones. He commented on the impacts of high inflation, increase in energy bills, increased food prices and the cost of fuel would have on residents. It was recognised that the hubs could not be provided everywhere and that there were economic pressures on Council budgets but called on everyone to ensure that each person in the county had access to the support they needed this winter
Councillor Ellis said that she had written to Group Leaders and Senior Officers in September asking what support was being provided to the most vulnerable residents of Flintshire. She agreed with the comments made on a possible alternative name, and the use of libraries or community centres as they were available in most towns and open to all residents. She asked if written information could be provided to assist with responding to residents questions.
The Vice Chair of the Council fully supported the Notice of Motion and thanked Councillor Ibbotson for his comments and concurred with the suggestion of renaming the hubs.
Councillor Peers supported the Notice of Motion in principle but also had reservations around the name and how it would be delivered and advertised, .
Councillor Owen also supported the Notice of Motion but asked how the hubs would be staffed and would the costs for refreshments be provided by the Council.
Councillor Chris Dolphin agreed with the comments made and did not have an issue with the name. Homelessness was always a problem which was unfortunately likely to get worse. He wondered who would administer the hubs and felt it was not feasible to have one in every community with churches and villages halls requiring to turn their heating on which was a major problem. He asked if the Chief Officer (Social Services) would be able to provide a response.
Councillor Simon Jones confirmed that he had been working with various groups across the country and said the name “Warm Hubs” was a UK standard name for this type of service. The focus should not be on the name but providing this service as quickly as possible with winter fast approaching.
Councillor Bibby paid tribute to the work undertaken, thanking the Senior Manager (Benefits) for the work she had done and agreed with the comments made today
The Chief Executive explained that this was being co-ordinated through the Senior Manager (Benefits) and her team. The third sector community groups had a major role to play with the Council to ensure its success. He thanked Members for their support on the Notice of Motion and provided reassurance that the work already being undertaken by the Senior Manager (Benefits) and the team which would continue.
Councillor Wakelam provided information on the way volunteer groups ran in Penyffordd and said it was important to engage with all groups in the community.
Councillor Crease also supported the Notice of Motion which was something meaningful for the whole county of Flintshire.
Councillor Coggins Cogan expressed his gratitude Members for their supportive comments. He understood why the name caused concern and said in his ward it would be called the “Gwernaffield Community Café”. He reiterated the importance of working with the third sector to provide the support that was required.
The recommendation was proposed Councillor Ian Roberts and on being put to the vote was carried unanimously.
That the Notice of Motion be received and supported.