The first in a series of summits to hear from local community representatives on how the city could become a fairer and more equal place to live against a background of swingeing cuts begins tonight.
The meetings, held by Brighton and Hove Fairness Commission, set up by Brighton and Hove City Council earlier this year, will hear evidence from invited community representatives on how the city can become a fairer place.
The first meeting, which starts tonight at 6pm at the Moulsecoomb North Hub on Hodshrove Lane has the theme of strengthening communities.
It will hear from Warren Carter from the Bevy – the city’s own community owned estate pub set up in Bevendean in 2014 to give the community a place to meet and Pat Weller, who was recently awarded an MBE for more than 40 years of community volunteering through the Hangleton & Knoll Project.
The commission has already listened to the views of hundreds of residents and community groups about inequality in the city. This has led them to focus on a different key issue at each of the five meetings.
Commission chair Vic Rayner said: “Local residents and groups are going to have a big role to play in helping the city meet the challenges it faces in the coming years. So we need to understand what can help them, and what can hold them back.
“People like Warren Carter and Pat Weller have spent many, many years working in their communities. Their advice and local insight will be invaluable and we are very much looking forward to speaking to them.”
Project manager Julia Reddaway said: “We want to ask people how they think the council can make the city a fairer place, but also how can you make Brighton and Hove a fairer place.
“We have been overwhelmed by the responses by people who said they want to make their community better and help their neighbours.
“There’s a sense of an untapped resource of people knowing there’s a problem and wanting to help.
“It’s definitely within the context of massive reduction in government funding which is going to start squeezing out a lot of stuff the council currently does.
“We want to build capacity and resilience in communities and facilitate people taking on more responsibilities.”
The meetings schedule is as follows:
- Thursday 26 November from 6-9pm at the council’s Moulsecoomb North Hub on Hodshrove Lane: Strengthening Communities
- Thursday 10 December from 6-9pm at the Sussex County Cricket Club Long Room, Eaton Road, Hove: Children and Young People
- Wednesday 20 January from 6-9pm at Whitehawk Library, 179 Whitehawk Road: Employment & Skills
- Thursday 18 February from 6-9pm at the Friends Meeting House on Ship Street in central Brighton: Housing
- Wednesday 16 March from 6-9pm at Portslade Town Hall on Victoria Road: Older People and Well-Being.
Although the meetings will be held in public, members of the public will not be able to ask questions directly to the witnesses or commissioners or debate issues raised.
Please visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/fairness-commission if you would like to give your views to the Fairness Commission.
The Fairness Commission is independent of the council, with no currently serving councillors on its panel. Its members have been selected for their wide range of experience and expertise.
Representatives of each of the council’s three political groups are acting as observers to the commission. They are Councillors Emma Daniel, Dee Simson and Leo Littman.
The commission is due to make its final recommendations to the council in May 2016.