Agenda item

Leader's Communications including appointment of Deputy Leader and Lead Councillors on the Executive

The newly elected Leader of the Council to announce the appointment of the Deputy Leader and Lead Councillors on the Executive and the titles of the portfolios assigned to them, together with any other communications or announcements.




The Mayor informed the Council that Councillor Julia McShane had indicated that, upon her election as Leader, it was her intention to announce the appointment of Councillor Joss Bigmore as Deputy Leader and to make no other changes to the Executive.  That being the case, the Mayor asked the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Joss Bigmore to comment on the Leader’s communications on behalf of the newly elected Leader of the Council.


The Deputy Leader made a statement in response to a number of enquiries from councillors regarding how the Council, together with other authorities and partners, could help residents across the borough with the impact of the cost of living crisis. 


The Household Support Fund was about to enter a third tranche of central government funding that would be administered by the Community Services team to those in need.  Residents would be able to access the simple application process online via the Council’s website and for those who were unable to access internet services, there would be team based at the Hive able to help residents complete the process on the telephone or in person. Details of the application process for this third tranche of funding would be shared via the website and through community and partnership contacts.  Residents in need were encouraged to get in touch if they required support. All applications would be treated confidentially.


All residents across the borough were also able to access the community fridge and thrive at the hive pre-loved donation bank for help with food and household items and clothing. Residents could also seek help from the Community Services team to access other community fridges in the borough as well as food bank support. To help the foodbanks reach as many people as possible, the Council would also provide delivery support to the North Guildford Foodbank via its community transport, for those who were unable to collect food parcels in person from the foodbank.


With rising energy costs placing many residents at risk of fuel poverty, the Council would be offering the Hive as a warm space during working hours for those in need, as well as the fuel voucher support scheme in partnership with Warmth Matters. A free cup of coffee or tea would be available and on Wednesdays the team would be offering soup. Surrey County Council were coordinating warm hubs across the county and this Council was supporting them in identifying other warm hubs in Guildford. At these hubs, including the Hive, the County Council would provide energy and debt advice as well as supplies of hot water bottles and blankets.


To further help residents access the support they need, the Council was hosting a community forum for partnership agencies and community groups that would coordinate a cost-of-living support offer so that residents could be directed to the most appropriate source of support.


In response to comments and questions from councillors, the Deputy Leader:


(a)   confirmed that a list of warm hubs to be established across the borough would be provided on the Council’s website;


(b)   outlined the support that was available from voluntary and charitable groups for residents in the west of the borough;


(c)   confirmed that Thrive at The Hive, was not only a food bank and community fridge, it was also a bank for pre-owned clothes, and children's toys;


(d)   emphasised the need to ensure that the Council’s resources were targeted to the most vulnerable residents; and


(e)   acknowledged the important role that local parish councils could play in supporting residents and indicated that he would raise this with parish clerks at the forthcoming Parish Liaison meeting on 14 October 2022.