Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)
To receive any announcements from the Mayor.
The Mayor made the following announcements:
(i) Teachers Award
The Mayor was delighted to announce that Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, had been shortlisted as a top 10 finalist in the Varkey Foundation's Global Teacher Prize competition the winner of which would receive a prize of $1million.
He reported that Andria had joined nine teachers from around the world in making the final list, which recognised teachers for their work in helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed against the odds. He wished her every success in the final awards.
(ii) 100th Year Birthday Celebration
The Mayor advised he was pleased to be able to announce that a Brent resident, Mary Brennan, had recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Mary currently lived in a residential care home in Kingsbury and as well as her family had been joined by the Deputy Mayor to celebrate this milestone.
(iii) Mayors Fundraising Event
Whilst highlighting how quickly the Civic year appeared to have passed, the Mayor reminded Members that his final fundraising event would be taking place on Friday 13 April 2018. The event would be taking place at Sattavis Padtidar Centre, Forty Lane and he hoped as many Members as possible would be able to attend.
(iv) Royal Visit
The Mayor took the opportunity to highlight a recent royal visit to the Roundwood Youth Centre by HRH Prince Harry. The prince had undertaken a tour of the centre and had been able to participate in its Fit and Fed half-term programme. He had witnessed how the scheme was able to provide children and young people with free activities and a nutritious lunch during school holidays.
In addition the prince had met young volunteers and coaches from Sport at the Heart, a community sport and wellbeing charity who were also part of the campaign and had taken part in an exercise session with the children, as well a game of hockey.
(v) Brent School Achievements
The Mayor advised he was delighted to be able to announce that the latest school performance tables figures, released by the Department for Education, had shown that Brent was the second highest performing local authority for the government's Progress 8 measure.
Within the figures provided, he was also extremely pleased to be able to report that Wembley High Technology College’s progress measure had rated them the second highest performing school in the country.
Members joined the Mayor in congratulating all pupils, staff, parents and carers involved in these achievements.
(vi) Rabbi Herman Martyn
It was with sadness that the Mayor referred to the recent passing of Rabbi Herman Martyn, aged 86.
The Mayor advised Members that Rabbi Martyn had given a great deal of time and energy to support pupils in Brent and had been a long standing member of the School Forum. He reported that Rabbi Martyn had received a Brent Community Champions Award from Brent Council in 2008 in recognition of his contribution to education in the Borough. In 2014 he was made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. He had been involved with Jewish schools for over 30 years and had been a Governor at Michael Sobell Sinai School since 2002
The Mayor felt that Rabbi Martyn’s commitment to public service, honesty, integrity, sharp mind, charisma, presence and generosity would be sorely missed and advised that the Council’s thoughts and prayers were with his family.
(vii) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month
The Mayor reminded Members that Brent would be celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month with a flag-raising ceremony that would be taking place at 3pm on Wednesday 28 February 18 in the Paul Daisley Garden at the Civic Centre.
The ceremony would provide an excellent opportunity to recognise the Authority’s continued dedication to diversity and inclusion and all Members were invited to attend.
(viii) International Women’s Day
The Mayor advised Members that Brent would also be celebrating International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March, with the theme “Pressing for Progress”. To mark the day, the Council would be hosting an event in the Grand Hall from 10am – 12 noon that would include a range of workshops.
The event would also be used to mark the centenary of the first women in the UK securing the right to vote and would provide a great opportunity to learn more about services being provided by the Council and other local organisations. Again the event would be open for all Members to attend.
(ix) Emergency cold weather Plan
Given the recent cold temperatures experienced the Mayor was keen to recognise how this may affect some of the more vulnerable people sleeping rough at this time.
In order to ensure those in the most need were protected and cared for at such a critical time, he was pleased to report that the Council had agreed to provide a nurse and an outreach worker twice daily at Christ Church, Willesden Lane who were currently welcoming the homeless and those sleeping rough. In terms of other action taken, he advised Members that the Council had also been able to provide the church with an additional 30 sleeping bags and 30 camp beds for use as needed and that Council officers were continuing to monitor the weather forecast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and had been doing so since the Winter Service commenced on 1 November.
The Mayor was assured that with all five of the Council’s gritting vehicles fully serviced, more than 326 grit bins on the streets and filled with salt, and over 773 tonnes of salt in stock, the council was ready for any further cold snaps forecast. He took the opportunity to thank all those involved in providing such important services for their efforts.
(x) Thanks to retiring Members
As this was the last planned full council meeting of the municipal year and current Administration, the Mayor took the opportunity to pay tribute to those Members who had advised they would not be standing in the local borough elections in May 2018.
He highlighted how being a councillor could be one of the most thankless, but also rewarding tasks and thanked those not standing for their many years of public service, recognising the dedication in serving their communities and their commitment to the people of Brent.
The Mayor felt that those Members concerned should all be proud of their achievements whether having served for one term or several and he took the opportunity to wish them, on behalf of all their colleagues, well for the future.
Members noted that in accordance with Standing Order 66(f) a list of current petitions had been tabled which also detailed the progress made in dealing with them.