Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




An apology for inability to attend was reported on behalf of Councillor Corr.




            The minutes of the meeting of 6th and 20th October were taken as read and signed as correct.



Declarations of Interest


Councillor Verner declared an interest in relation to item 5(b) on the agenda, Council Response to Department of Health ‘Consultation on cross-departmental Covid-19 Vulnerable Children and Young People’s Plan’ as a staff member of the Greater Shankill Partnership who worked with this sector of the Community. Councillor Smyth also declared an interest as he worked with vulnerable young people in his employment.



Schedule of Meetings 2021 pdf icon PDF 243 KB


            The Committee approved the schedule of meetings for the People and Communities Committee as outlined below and agreed that all meetings would commence at 5.15 pm:


  • Tuesday, 12th January
  • Tuesday, 26th January – Youth Forum
  • Tuesday, 9th February
  • Tuesday, 2nd March – Housing
  • Tuesday, 9th March
  • Tuesday, 13th April
  • Tuesday, 11th May
  • Tuesday, 8th June
  • Tuesday, 22nd June – Youth Forum
  • Tuesday, 3rd August – Housing (Annual HIP Update)
  • Tuesday, 10th August
  • Tuesday, 7th September
  • Tuesday, 5th October – Youth Forum
  • Tuesday, 12th October
  • Tuesday, 2nd November – Housing
  • Tuesday, 9th November
  • Tuesday, 7th December





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 3 items is restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the Members of the Press and public from the Committee meeting during discussion on the following 3 items as, due to their nature, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Finance Update


            The Committee was reminded that the Strategic Policy and Resources, at its meeting on 31st July, had received an update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s financial position and a strategy to address the forecast deficit and the mitigation measures, which had and would be taken as the situation evolved.  It had agreed to continue to provide Members with a monthly update on the financial position and that the same report would be presented to the subsequent standing Committees for noting and to provide further information on ongoing work.


            During discussion, Members raised queries in relation to the current arrangements with GLL and the BWUH in terms of finance and staffing and sought clarity on the replacement Job Support Scheme.  They were advised that an update in respect of these matters would be given at the November meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee. 


            The Committee noted the October 2020 financial update.



Hire Arrangements Boucher Road Playing Fields and Botanic Gardens


            The Committee was reminded that it had previously granted authority to Belsonic to hold a maximum of 10 concerts in Ormeau Park in June of each year for a three-year period from 2019 – 2021. In addition, at its meeting in August 2020, it had also agreed a request from UP Productions for the hire of the Boucher Playing Fields from 22nd May – 2nd June 2021 for the AVA Music Festival. 


            The Neighbourhood Services Manager advised that the ongoing pandemic continued to make it difficult for organisers to plan and prepare for these type of events, especially given that no one knew when the restrictions would end.  On this basis, he detailed that both promoters had made contingency requests.


            The Committee considered the two requests.  During discussion, at the request of a Member, it was agreed that when emerging from the pandemic it would be useful if the Council would arrange a meeting with the promoters to get a better understanding of the arrangements that promoters put in place when staging large-scale events. 


            The Committee further agreed:


  • the request from UP Productions for the hire of Boucher Playing Fields from the 15th September 2021 until the 30th September 2021 for the AVA Music Festival; and
  • the request from Belsonic for the hire of Ormeau Park for the month of September 2021 for the Belsonic Music Festival; and
  • that officers be granted permission to liaise with the promoters of the events to agree alternative appropriate dates for both events should public health restrictions require further postponement and/or contingency measures to be put in place.



Grant funding from the Office of Product Safety and Standards


            The Director of City Services advised the Committee of a grant programme that was available from the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).  She advised that this grant had been designed to support district councils in Northern Ireland to assist them in undertaking effective market surveillance and with the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.


            The grants was up to £55k per Council and was available up to March 2021 and she explained that it had been provided to establish a flexible resource within each Council with the capacity and capability to:


·         undertake risk-based market surveillance interventions on goods before they were released for free circulation and, subsequently, throughout the supply chain;

·         manage and act on intelligence to drive a risk-based approach;

·         provide advice and support to local businesses to meet their obligations under product safety legislation for importing and exporting goods;

·         collaborate with district councils and other organisations to coordinate market surveillance activity across NI to ensure compliance with EU regulatory requirements; and

·         monitor and report on interventions.


            The Committee noted that Belfast City Council was already a Market Surveillance Authority with responsibility for regulating product safety.


            The Committee agreed that City and Neighbourhood Services would avail of the additional funding from the Office of Product Safety and Standards on a cost recovery basis until March 2021, to assist it with directing the appropriate resources within the department to ensure that the Council met its obligations as detailed above. 



Matters referred back from the Council/Motions


Action on Avoidable Winter Deaths pdf icon PDF 385 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Groves and seconded by Councillor McAteer, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f), been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“With the winter approaching, Belfast citizens will be increasingly susceptible to Avoidable Winter Deaths – particularly our citizens aged over 65 with underlying health conditions and vulnerable elderly people aged 85+.


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, elderly and vulnerable citizens are already at high risk, it is therefore imperative that we redouble our efforts to prevent avoidable winter deaths from happening during the winter 20/21.


The increase in winter deaths is widely understood to be caused by the flu and spells of very cold weather - yet these deaths are avoidable. A combination of high energy prices, fuel poverty, ill health, low income and poor housing can make winter a dangerous time for many older people.


This Council has worked with statutory, community and voluntary partners to deliver the Belfast Warm and Well Project to tackle Avoidable Winter Deaths earlier this year. We call on Council to act decisively to implement a multi-sectoral targeted Avoidable Winter Deaths programme for the winter of 20/21.”


            Councillor McAteer addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services referred to the ongoing work throughout 2019/20 in respect of the delivery of the Belfast Warm and Well Project.  He detailed that this had been co-ordinated by Council officers with the assistance of the Belfast Health Development Unit and the Health and Social Care Board and provided an assurance that the Council would continue to work with the other statutory agencies to continue to deliver this work into 2020/21.  They would also aim to continue to promote other key messages in regard to cold homes and the importance of the flu vaccination.


            The Committee adopted the motion and agreed that officers would continue to work with the Council’s statutory, community and voluntary partners to implement a multi-sectoral targeted Avoidable Winter Deaths Programme for the winter of 2020/21 with the aim of delivering the Belfast Warm and Well Project.   



Mental Health - Awareness and Support Campaign pdf icon PDF 229 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Pankhurst and seconded by Councillor Kyle, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f), been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“This Council agrees that Belfast is facing a mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


This Council agrees to launch an awareness and support campaign in the city centre, at strategic points throughout the city and on social media that targets those with poor mental health. The campaign will focus on posters offering support service details and general questions that have a positive psychological effect for those who read them.


Furthermore, this Council agrees to convene an urgent meeting between the Council, the Executive Office, the Department for Health and statutory agencies to discuss the formation of a community emergency response system that will allow local support

services to respond to those in need of urgent and direct help.


Finally, this Council acknowledges and pays tribute to all those charities and services who offer invaluable help to our citizens that undoubtedly save lives on a daily and weekly basis.”


            Both the proposer of the motion Councillor Pankhurst and seconder of the motion Councillor Kyle addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion, highlighting the need for the Council to work strategically with other statutory and voluntary partners to publicise the help that existed and to ensure that adequate support services were in place to respond to those in need of help. 


            Several Members commended and paid tribute to those charities, organisations and individuals who volunteered their help and support, often on a daily basis, and recognised the valuable role that they played in society and in helping to save lives. 


            In response to the motion, the Director of Neighbourhood Services provided the Members with an assurance that the Council was committed to the promotion of mental health awareness and support.  He referred to mental health support which was available and publicised via the Council’s social media channels and he also drew reference to the Directory of Services Document which was available via the Public Health Agency – a Mental Health Directory of Services aimed at signposting people in need of support to the support services in Belfast, available here: 


            The Director also highlighted the other support mechanisms that were available, including Lifeline (0808 808 8000) the regional 24/7 helpline.  He advised that a pilot of the Multi Agency Triage Team trust, Ambulance Service and Police was ongoing in the Belfast and the South Eastern Trust areas.


            A further Member suggested involving the Belfast Youth Forum (BYF).  She advised that, at its recent joint meeting with the People and Committees Committee on 20th October, 2020, the Youth Forum had presented its “Elephant in the Room Campaign”, a report which explored young people’s awareness of mental health in Northern Ireland.


            A number of Members commended the Youth Forum in regard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4b


Support for Young People and Students pdf icon PDF 225 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Nicholl and seconded by Councillor Mulholland, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f), been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“This Council notes the adverse effect COVID-19 has had on our city’s young people and students. Accordingly, we call upon the Council to facilitate an ad hoc meeting with key stakeholders to amplify the wide range issues and ensure a joined up approach is taken.”


            Councillor Mulholland addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion.  She commenced by highlighting the alarming trend of anxiety and depression amongst young adults during the Covid-19 pandemic and she paid tribute to the many support organisations, charities and services that were trying to support young people through the pandemic and she reiterated the need to try and ensure that a joined up approach was taken.


            Several Members noted the lack of stability and routine for many young people who were suffering with a lack of connection and support from their friends and mentors due to online learning. 


            A further Member referred to the financial difficulties that many students were facing through loosing employment and not having been afforded any reduction in rental, despite the fact that most of their lectures had been moved online and often accommodation was no longer required.  For those students who remained in student accommodation, there was the added worry in regard to the sharing of facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens during the pandemic.  


            The Members acknowledged that it was important to understand the wide range of issues that young people had been experiencing during the pandemic and to establish ways of supporting them.


            The Committee adopted the motion and agreed to facilitate an ad hoc meeting with key stakeholders to enable the Council to highlight and discuss the issues affecting young people and students resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure a joined up approach was taken. 



Belfast City Council - Cycling Champion pdf icon PDF 151 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor McReynolds and seconded by Councillor McAllister, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f), been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“This Council agrees to introduce a Belfast City Council - Cycling Champion within the Council to support active travel and bicycle use; and, agrees to write to the Minister for Infrastructure calling on the publication of the Belfast Bicycle Network.”


            Councillor McReynolds addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion.


            The Committee:


  • adopted the motion and agreed that a report would be submitted to a future meeting detailing how the Council planned to progress the introduction of a Cycling Champion who would support active travel and bicycle use; and
  • agreed that the Council would write to the Infrastructure Minister calling for the publication of the Belfast Bicycle Network Plan.



Committee/Strategic Issues


Update on Interaction with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council - Re: Cutts HRC pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the following report:


           1.0       Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To provide an update report  to  the People and Communities  in relation to the decision  taken at the meeting held on 8th September 2020, namely:


            ‘The Committee agreed that a report would be submitted to a future meeting which would detail potential options, including costs, for Belfast City Council (BCC) to enter into a Service Level Agreement with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) in respect of the disposal of waste by residents of the Colin area of Belfast at the Cutts Recycling Centre within the LCCC District.’


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee are asked to


·         Note the update report


3.0       Main report




3.1       As a direct result of the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, all but essential services across Northern Ireland’s 11 Councils, including Belfast City Council (BCC) were suspended. This included the closure of Household Recycling Centres and Civic Amenity Sites. Once clarification and assurance was received from Central Government as to whether journeys to disposal sites were allowed under the ‘Essential Travel’ Guidelines, BCC reopened their sites with revised operating arrangements, designed with consultation with all internal stakeholders including Trade Unions to agree safe working practices and Covid-19 risk assessments.


3.2       Similar to other Councils, BCCs arrangements included measures to control access to these sites to maintain control and adhere to social distancing measures which in turn gave protection to staff and members of the public alike. Again, like other councils, these measures included restricting access to Household Recycling Centres to individual council residents.


3.3       Initially 100% identity checks were carried out by additional front of house staff, but as demand on the Belfast HRCs has settled, and control measures such as the booking system for Commercial type vans and trailers has been introduced, a more pragmatic approach has been adopted.


3.4       Each of the 11 local councils have taken similar but individual approaches to the re-opening and operation of their respective Household Recycling Centres and Civic Amenity sites. Each Council will have undertaken their own specific risk assessments as to how they will safely operate their individual sites. Differing approaches, arrangements and site specific Safe Systems of Work are to be expected between councils. These have been discussed during Council Waste Forum and TAGNI meetings between officers to benchmark and learn best practice from others during the current unprecedented difficult operating environment under which the collection of waste is carried out.


3.5       In respect to the operating procedures within Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), the requirement to prove residence within their boundary in order to gain access to their HRCs, including the site at the Cutts, Dunmurry, has been maintained. This has led to Belfast City Council area residents who have tried to gain access the site in LCCC area being turned away.


            Main Update


3.6       Following the decision from the P&C Committee in September, the City Services Manager (Resources and Fleet) was able  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Council Response to Department of Health 'Consultation on cross-departmental Covid-19 Vulnerable Children and Young People's Plan' pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Members that an invitation had been received from the Director of Family and Children’s Policy seeking the Council to participate in the Department of Health’s consultation on the ‘Cross-departmental Covid-19 Vulnerable Children and Young People’s Plan.’ He advised that the full consultation report was available for download here and drew the Members’ attention to the Council’s draft response to the consultation document: 


Appendix 3


Belfast City Council - Response To The Covid-19

Vulnerable Children And Young People’s Plan


1.         Introduction


1.1       The Department of Health has led on the development of a Covid-19 Vulnerable Children and Young People's Plan, which has been produced on a cross-departmental basis with DfC, DE, DOJ and DfE.


1.2       The plan has been developed in response to the challenges and risks facing children, young people and their families due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is intended to reflect a series of activities that will be, or have been, undertaken across the Executive to meet the needs of vulnerable children, young people and their families during this time and in the recovery period after.


1.3       The Executive agreed to the publication of the Covid-19 Vulnerable Children and Young People's  plan on 6 August 2020, subject to a targeted consultation to ensure the Plan:


·         reflects the activities that are being undertaken to support children and vulnerable families during Covid-19;

·         reflects how services have adapted and enhanced provision to continue to support children and families during Covid-19; and

·         Includes new actions, which have been undertaken specifically to address some of lockdown's risks and challenges.


1.4       The Plan will help support the next steps in rebuilding services to meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people.


1.5       Belfast City Council (BCC) welcomes the core principle of the document. We find however that the document will benefit from additional detail.


1.6       Alignment with current policies and frameworks (Eg. Outcomes groups) need to be detailed. Correspondence between established indicators aimed at measuring the improvement of children and young people and the newly proposed actions needs to be explored to assess the real impact of the proposed interventions.


1.7       In order to prevent the reactive nature and volatility of some interventions due to current unprecedented circumstances and the constant changes in the limitations for service delivery, a more thorough plan is needed. The plan would benefit from an assessment of which intervention can be delivered according to the different levels of restrictions in place. This will ensure that different interventions are in pace to mitigate the named risks regardless of the different levels/tiers of restrictions.


1.8       The response outlined below follows the structure set out in the consultation paper. We have provided answers where BCC has a stated position and where it is considered appropriate for us to respond.


2.         Definition of Vulnerable children and young people.


2.1       We welcome the definition of children and young people used in the consultation document. We welcome in particular the specific acknowledgment to “invisible” children, that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5b


Boxing Strategy - Quarter 2 Report pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Committee that the Council had previously agreed to provide £200,000 in funding to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Ulster Branch (IABA) in the current financial year for delivery of an agreed action plan which supported the Belfast Boxing Strategy and he then provided an update on the progress in relation to the agreement up to the end of September 2020.


            He explained that, in line with the Council’s objectives, the Belfast Boxing Strategy Steering Group had met quarterly.  The Steering Group was chaired by the Director of Neighbourhood Services and attended by Council officers, IABA officers and officials and Co. Antrim officials.


            The Committee was reminded that the Council had previously agreed a total of 37 Indicators with the IABA to monitor delivery of the programmes.  The Director reported that the IABA had been compliant with all the reporting matters.


            The Committee noted the progress to date and that the achievement of targets had been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions.  It further noted that IABA were hopeful that full implementation of the majority, if not all, of the agreed KPIs could be achieved by year end (subject to the current regulations being lifted/relaxed).



Stadia Community Benefits Initiative Update pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To advise Committee of progress with the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative (SCBI) and update on the action plan.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         Note the content of the report.


3.0       Main report


3.1       The Council has been progressing with the Leisure Transformation Programme to renew and further develop its leisure offering across the City. This programme has been influenced by the partnership opportunities presented by the NI Executive Stadia Programme.


3.2       The Council, Department for Communities (DfC) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) had previously recognised the opportunities presented by the Stadia Programme and had committed to work together to maximise these benefits via the establishment of a Stadium Community Benefits Initiative as part of the Belfast Community Benefits Initiative (‘the Project’) to implement and deliver agreed objectives including promoting equality, tackling poverty, and tackling social exclusion within the Belfast area.


3.3       In March 2016 the Council, DfC and IFA signed an agreement which sets out their respective commitments to the project. As other major stadia are developed in Belfast it is anticipated that other sports governing bodies shall become parties to the agreement. At its April 2018 meeting, People and Communities committee agreed that Council would work with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) within the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative and recognised their significant planned investment in gaelic games in the city to support their Gaelfast strategy. GAA activities became fully incorporated into the action plan at the start of financial year 2019-2020, with Gaelfast staff imbedded into the governance structure at Communications Board, Delivery Board, Policy and Performance Board. There will be further opportunities for the extension of programme delivery over the next number of years, particularly following recent NI Executive approval for redevelopment of Casement Park.


3.4       The agreement is for a period of ten years with financial commitment from Council and IFA in place to the end of March 2026. Delivery is managed through monthly meetings of the Delivery Board, which reports quarterly to the Policy and Performance Board. Financial and performance reports can be presented to Council and other partners’ Boards as necessary with formal reviews of the agreement planned for years 5 and 10.


3.5       The Policy & Performance Group is responsible for agreeing the Benefits Realisation Plan and associated annual targets. Work was undertaken to ensure the end benefits/outcomes are aligned to partners’ strategies. To measure the progress of this the Council and the IFA have developed a range of indicators/intermediate benefits which are monitored through programme delivery:


a.     Number of coaching sessions provided

b.    Number of coaches engaged in delivering coaching

c.     Number of sessions improving club governance

d.    Number of volunteering opportunities

e.     Participation opportunities for under 16s

f.      Female participation rates

g.    Number of people completing skills development programme

h.    Number of people members of at least one sports club

i.      Number of sessions for under-represented groups

j.      Number of sessions for school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5d


Sports Development Strategy pdf icon PDF 260 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1          To seek approval to extend the terms of reference for development of a Belfast City Council Sports Development Strategy and revised timeline for development and completion.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee are asked to agree;


1.     The proposed extended terms of reference

2.     The revised timeline for development of the strategy


3.0       Main report


3.1       Key Issues


3.1       It was agreed by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee at its meeting on 5th January 2018 that a Belfast City Council Sports Development Strategy and associated funding strategy would be developed. This strategy was to provide a framework for future decision making on providing funding to National Governing Bodies of Sport delivering programmes in Belfast in support of existing funding streams and work programmes which enhance sporting opportunities for Belfast’s sporting organisations and individuals.


3.2       People and Communities Committee of 5th June 2018 agreed a proposed Terms of Reference and proposed timeline. Since that date the Departmental Change Programme has prompted consideration of wider opportunities to clarify and align the links between sports development and Council’s strategic funding and programming decisions in the areas of asset development, health improvement and community development.


3.3       Department for Communities (DfC) are currently developing a Physical Activity and Sport Strategy for Northern Ireland 2020 - 2030. Pre-consultation has been carried out by DfC on this strategy and Council has provided responses to the approach. It would appear that alignment to the DfC approach may support maximising the Belfast Agenda outcomes for Belfast which have a focus on delivery until 2035.


3.4       Proposed Extended Terms of Reference


            Based on what was agreed at committee on 5th June 2018 it is proposed that the Terms of Reference are extended to include the following;


·         In line with the Belfast Agenda the outcomes are extended to 2035

·         Physical activity programming is considered as part of the pathway into organised sport

·         Considered and aligned with our Leisure Transformation Programme, including the development of Phase 3.

·         Identification of alternative sources of financing/partner opportunities.

·         Facility/asset utilisation and management is maximised through collaborative partnership approaches

·         Facility/asset planning and development is considered taking account of local, citywide and regional need.

·         Sport’s contribution to improvement of whole health is considered in the context of partnership working through the work of the Belfast Community Planning Partnership and associated Boards – particularly the Living Here Board

·         Sport’s contribution to community development is considered in the context of City & Neighbourhood’s Departmental approach to area working and neighbourhood regeneration

·         The strategy ‘working title’ to be ‘Belfast Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy.’



3.5       Proposed Draft Timeline


            Subject to committee’s approval of the draft terms of reference the following is a proposed timeline for the development of the strategy.


Establish Board and structures for developing strategy

December 2020

Clarify and allocate resources for developing strategy

January 2021

Research and benchmarking of best practice

February 2021


Draft strategic and policy context completed

February 2021

Audit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5e


Operational Issues


Proposal for naming new streets pdf icon PDF 243 KB


The Committee agreed to make a recommendation in respect of the applications for the naming of new streets in the City, namely, Areema Grove, off Areema Grove, BT17 and Kilwee Lane, off Upper Dunmurry Lane, BT17.



Proposed improvements to Parks and Open Spaces pdf icon PDF 345 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1       Members will recall that in December 2019 this committee received an update report on a number of requests from Elected representatives for a range of improvements to our Parks and Open Spaces.  This included a notice of motion relating to the provision of artificial lighting in Parks and a request to review the hours our Parks are open to the public.


1.2       In March 2020 members will also recall that this committee agreed to pilot the opening of 3 parks in the city for 24 hours from the start of July to the start of September.  It was agreed that this was a pilot scheme would be subject to ongoing review and evaluation.  It was also agreed that information sessions would take place where users and residents would be informed of the pilot and these will be used to record and listen to any concerns raised.  It was agreed that members would receive feedback on this prior to the commencement of the pilot and both the PSNI and the Council legal Services department would also be consulted. 


1.3       The 3 sites chosen for the pilot were Ormeau Park, Falls Park and Woodvale Park.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the contents of the report and;


·         Note the substantial financial implications of installing lighting in all parks and note that there is no capital financing associated with this.  Given this it is recommended that a feasibility study is undertaken into the lighting requirements for different parks (e.g. City Park, Neighbourhood park).  Members are also asked to note that lighting has been installed at a number of parks over the past few years as part of a number of recent capital projects and it is further recommended that the learning from these projects is factored into the above feasibility.

·         Agree that officers recommence work on the Opening Hours Pilots previously agreed and bring a report detailing the outcome of the consultation and engagement to the March 2021 meeting of the People & Communities Committee.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Our green and blue infrastructure including our Parks affects the quality of life for everyone in our city. It helps to define a sense of place and the character of our communities; provides important spaces for recreation with associated health and wellbeing benefits and strengthens the resilience of our natural environment to change. Protecting these assets and enhancing the benefits that they provide is therefore integral to the future of Belfast.


3.2       From the start of the Pandemic parks and greenspaces have played a major part in relation to meeting both physical and mental health needs, during times when access to the outdoors has been limited. Research has shown on numerous occasions that parks and green spaces provide multiple benefits to the health and wellbeing of residents and are a vital component of creating sustainable and healthy communities.


3.3       This is a transformational time for our city, with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b


Membership of the Northern Ireland Resources Network (NIRN) pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of City Services advised the Committee that a pilot network was being formed, the Northern Ireland Resource Network (NIRN).  She explained that its aim was to facilitate knowledge sharing and to promote joint working between stakeholders interested in increasing the levels of repair and reuse locally.  Membership of the network would assist the Council in terms of learning, best practice and it would possibly assist with linking up potential project partners to develop the repair and reuse sector.  This aligned with the Council’s work under the Resourceful Belfast theme of growing the circular economy.


            The Committee approved the Council’s membership of the Northern Ireland Resource Network for the duration of the free membership period (until March 2022) and further agreed ongoing membership of the network (initially set at £250.00 per annum and subject to reasonable increases over time), subject to review, and an assurance that the membership continued to remain worthwhile to the Service.



Second wave planning - support for vulnerable citizens pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1      The purpose of this paper is to update Members on the planning, partner engagement and support mechanisms in place to support vulnerable people in a way that is complementary to existing community and voluntary sector delivery.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-         note this approach is based on extensive partner engagement (including debrief with strategic community partners) and will be discussed with our community partners for any further feedback

-         endorse the Frequently Asked Questions at Appendix 2


3.0       Main report




3.1        Members will be aware of the extensive work by community and voluntary sector partners, Council and other statutory partners as part of the initial COVID-19 wave.


3.2        Members will also be aware though that during that initial wave, there was a strong sense:


-         There was potential duplication (particularly in relation to food)

-         Council (on request from DfC) had stepped in to a space in relation to food delivery and running a helpline which it had not traditionally operated in

-         That alignment between services a statutory and community/voluntary level could be improved upon

-         That because of all of the above, we were collectively not always getting to those who most needed the support.


3.3        A debrief with the strategic community partners Council worked with during the initial wave of COVID-19, was held on 13 October 2020 and our strategic community partners supported this position.  In particular, they felt that Council should add value by connecting, facilitating and advocating, rather than stepping in to a space we did not traditionally operate in and duplicate existing provision.  The summary of their feedback is attached at Appendix 1.


            Second Wave Planning


3.4        Taking all of this in to account, Officers have worked with partners to work through the processes that would support a more holistic approach to supporting vulnerable people, with the Council enhancing and adding value if there were gaps and when it was needed, rather than duplicating existing services.


3.5        Partners involved in that planning were:


-         Advice NI (Funded by DfC to run the Regional Helpline)

-         Volunteer Now (supporting the volunteer eco system across the city should it be needed)

-         Fareshare (Strategic food supply chain partners regionally and funded by DfC to enhance this, provides food supply to community/voluntary organisations working with vulnerable people, rather than individuals)

-         Red Cross (Welfare, Hardship and Food support regionally as well as logistics support in the form of volunteers/vehicles if needed.  On contract to BCC)

-         Trussell Trust (Citywide Network supporting majority of existing foodbanks in Belfast, also with strategic food supply chain partners)

-         Belfast Trust (supporting clinically vulnerable individuals, also with a contract with Red Cross in similar areas as Council)


3.6        The outcome of that engagement has supported the feedback from strategic community partners.  Additionally, individual planning by these organisations has identified the following (please note this is the position as things stand  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6d


Update on One Million Trees Programme pdf icon PDF 284 KB


            (Ms. G. Long, Commissioner for Resilience, attended in connection with this item)


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To provide this Committee with an update on progress to date in relation to the Belfast One Million Trees Programme, include a launch date in late November.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to


-         note the report and provide comment. 


3.0       Main report


3.1       In March 2019, Belfast City Council referred to Committee a motion by Cllr Heading (appendix 1) with an ambition to plant one million trees in Belfast.  In June, the People and Communities Committee received a proposal from the Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group seeking Council support in coordinating an initiative, which would see one million trees planted over a 15-year period. The committee agreed to be lead partnership facilitator for the project, working with key stakeholders with a report to be brought back to a future Committee regarding next steps.


3.2       Separately, following citywide engagement on possible opportunities to build climate resilience across Belfast, the draft Resilience Strategy includes a recommendation to plant one million trees and for growth in afforestation and urban tree cover, over time. 


3.3       Following the committee’s decision that BCC acts as a convenor, a steering group for the programme was established, with meetings chaired by the Commissioner for Resilience. Coordination is undertaken by officers from the Resilience Team, and officers from City and Neighbourhood Services Department. The coordinating officers have also convened internal discussions with colleagues in the Planning Service, City Regeneration, the Strategic Hub and Physical Programmes to raise awareness of the proposal.


3.4       To date, officer involvement has focused on steering group coordination, acting as a broker between all stakeholders.  We have made good progress, and have arrived at a point where sufficient partnerships and funding opportunities are available for a public launch. 


3.5       There are multiple objectives associated with a tree-planting programme at scale.  It will contribute to several Belfast Agenda priorities on sustainability, liveability and inclusive growth.  The Mini Stern, undertaken to inform a roadmap to decarbonise the city, concluded that Belfast will use up its carbon budget in nine years.  Tree planning at scale provides a cheap and safe approach to carbon capture and storage within a city, and to boost biodiversity.  Furthermore, designed in the right way, using the right land, tree planting at scale can support sustainable urban drainage, reduce flooding through rainwater capture and protect the city from the impacts of climate change, as rainfall increases. Afforestation in cities is increasingly accepted as an economic driver – boosting property values and contributing to place-making and tourism.  Several cities in Europe are citing tree planting as core to their economic recovery post-Covid 19, and we understand


3.6       DAERA is considering afforestation as a core pillar of a future approach to ‘green growth’ in the region.  While more trees in Belfast will improve air quality overall, we are not proposing that this programme will be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.