Council may set up gazebos for covid-safe resident meetings

Resident groups could use pop-up gazebos so that members can get together in a covid-safe way as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.

The idea was mentioned in a council report after questions about when resident groups could use community rooms on council estates.

A Brighton and Hove City Council housing panel report said: “As lock-down eases … residents are keen to start meeting together, using their community rooms, rebuilding their associations and having in-person meetings with the council. They would like some information on when this will be possible.

“There has been a reduction in resident involvement with the move to online meetings. Some people are unable to access the technology and others find it very unsatisfactory so don’t attend.”

Community engagement manager Sam Warren said that the council was aware of the difficulties that many residents faced when trying to take part in online meetings.

She said: “For some residents, joining online meetings has been complex and we have now purchased 10 tablets that we can loan to people to help them with equipment or data. We can also support residents to use this equipment.

“A number of residents are finding online meeting considerably easier and we will need to have a balance when looking at how we move forward in the future to ensure everyone who wishes to is able to participate. This may be a mix of physical and online meetings and events.”

She said that the council was working with the dates on the government covid “roadmap” in mind, including Monday (17 May).

From Monday, Ms Warren said, “most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors (were due to) be lifted although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.”

She said: “We may be able to hold more local tenant and resident meetings outside if the weather permits and there are appropriate places to do this.

“We will be exploring how we can use the community rooms and community spaces to have small meetings.

“We are in the process of buying a few pop-up gazebos which we hope will enable us to do more outdoor meetings.”

Ms Warren said that the government hoped to remove all legal limits on social contact on or before Monday 21 June.

She added: “It is likely that we will need to continue to carry on with ‘hands, face, space’, possibly wear face masks indoors and comply with any covid-secure measures that remain in place.”

Four council housing panels are scheduled to take place on Tuesday 25 May and Wednesday 26 May.

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