Agenda and minutes

Venue: Hybrid Meeting - Council Chamber

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




An apology for inability to attend was recorded on behalf on the Chairperson, Councillor Cobain.


Best Wishes


            The Deputy Chairperson congratulated former Members of the Committee Councillors Baker and McReynolds on their election to the Northern Ireland Assembly. 





            The minutes of the meeting of 5th April were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that the minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 9th May.



Declarations of Interest


            The following Members declared an interest in item 3 (b) in relation to the Community Support Programme Letter of Offer 2022-2024, as they either worked for or were associated with an organisation in receipt of funding from the DfC. All Members left the meeting whilst the matter was being discussed. 


·        Councillor Black, on the basis that she managed the Grosvenor Community Centre; 

·        Councillor Verner, in that she was an employee of the Greater Shankill Partnership (Spectrum Centre); and

·        Councillor Corr, in that he was an employee of Falls Community Council;


            Alderman Copeland declared an interest in respect of agenda item 3 (c), Request for the use of Belfast City Council facilities during the Orange Orders Centenary Parade on 28th May 2022, in that she was a Member of the Orange Order, she left the meeting whilst the matter was under consideration.





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 4 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 4 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.



Presentation - Organiser of Bright Lights Event


            The Deputy Chairperson welcomed Mr. E. McCann to the meeting.


            Mr. McCann commenced by thanking the Members for the opportunity to attend the meeting.  He advised that following the 2021/22 event he acknowledged that there were areas where improvements could be made to enhance the 2022/23 event.


            The representative proceeded to outline his draft proposals for change, which included a shorter running time, cheaper ticket price and new attractions.


            Several of the Members highlighted the number of complaints that had been received around the price of tickets, lack of a family ticket and the overall environmental impact of the event in the area, specifically in regard to light and noise pollution.


            During questions the promoter acknowledged that there had been little, or no public engagement and agreed with the Members that it was essential that neighbourhood consultation/notification was undertaken going forward, in keeping with clause 21 of the licence agreement.


            A Member acknowledged and thanked the promoter for the ‘quite time’ that had been set aside for those with sensory issues.  A further Member suggested that the provision of a changing places facility would be a welcome addition. 


            The Deputy Chairperson thanked Mr. McCann for attending and he left the meeting.


            Discussion ensued in regard to the issues that had been considered, following which, it was agreed to defer any further discussion on the matter to enable a report to be submitted to a future meeting that would consider the proposed areas for improvement as outlined by the promoter and how these could be successfully implemented and also to enable the receipt of legal advice from Legal Services as to whether those Members who had received complimentary tickets for the 2021/21 should declare an interest.



Botanic Gardens Events 2022 - Request from Aiken Promotions


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reported that a request had been received from Aiken Promotions seeking permission in respect of the breakdown and egress of equipment (known as ‘load out’) up to 3.00 a.m. on the morning after each of the scheduled concerts at Botanic Gardens in June 2022.


            As with the previous event, the Members again stressed the need for engagement with local residents to be undertaken to advise them of the events taking place and disruptions that might occur. 


            The Committee granted authority to Aiken Promotions Limited to conduct the ‘load out’ up to but no later than 3.00 a.m. after each of the concerts based on a number of mitigations being put in place. It noted that, as part of these mitigations, the promotor would liaise and seek advice from the Council’s environmental noise team in order to limit the disruption to local residents.


            The Committee further noted that satisfactory terms and conditions would be agreed and included as clauses within the overall licence agreement for use of the site which would include communication and engagement with local residents.



DfC Community Support Programme Letter of Offer 2022-2024


The Members were asked to note that a Letter of Offer had been received from the Department for Communities (DfC) in regard to the delivery of the Community Support Programme (CSP).  The letter of offer was a multi-annual covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 financial years, previously it had been allocated on a year-by-year basis.  


            The Committee was reminded that the Council used all the CSP funding to match its investment in Community Provision Grants supporting the community and voluntary sector to provide a broad range of community and advice services. 


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that the Letter of Offer made provision for a 2% increase in grant allocation for the 2022/23 financial year and again in 2023/24.  This increase was specifically for salary related costs. All organisations that used the Council’s Community Provision Grants towards salaries would be offered an additional 2% allocation, proportional to the Council’s contribution. 


            The Members’ attention was then drawn to the financial breakdown contained within Letter of Offer.


            During discussion a Member referred to the status of the Belfast Citywide Tribunal Service (BCTS) and whether its draft Business Case had been progressed. 


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that Council officers were continuing to work with the BCTS to produce a final draft of its Business Case and that in due course an update report would be submitted to Committee.  The Members were also reminded that the DfC had not applied any increase to the Welfare Reform Mitigations Extension Tribunal Representation Appeals and that the Council had allocated £70,400.


            The Committee agreed that the Chief Executive formally accept the Letter of Offer on behalf of the Council. 



Request for the use of Belfast City Council facilities during the Orange Orders centenary parade on 28th May 2022


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reported that a request had been received from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, seeking the use of the cobbled stone section at the front of the Belfast City Hall and the use of a Belfast City Council (BCC) standing podium, to facilitate a walk by leading up to the completion of the parade to mark the Orange Order’s Centenary on 28th May.


            The Members noted that they were content with this request providing the erection of the podium was at no cost to the Council and that the podium itself was plain (i.e. no BCC corporate logo).


            Given the date of the proposed event, delegated authority was granted to the Director of Neighbourhood Services to grant permission to The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland to use the cobbled section at the front of City Hall and to permit the erection of a podium to facilitate a ‘walk by’ on the 28th May, provided it was at no cost to the Council.



Committee/Strategic Issues


Motion - Nutrition Support for Children in Out of Hours School Clubs pdf icon PDF 338 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To provide members of the People and Communities Committee with an update in relation to action taken to address issues raised via a Notice of Motion tabled by Councillor Black in November 2019 focussing on improving nutrition support within after schools’ clubs, particularly in areas of disadvantage.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the contents of the report.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Key Issues


            In November 2019 Cllr Black brought forward a Notice of Motion (NOM), seconded by Cllr McAteer, which stated; ‘Practical healthy eating, supported by positive influence around lifelong food choices, improves children’s wellbeing in physical and mental terms including their ability to concentrate and learn.  Good nutrition is essential for children to grow properly, do their best in school and be happy and healthy in the future (Education Authority)’.


3.2       A World Health Organisation Commission had described childhood obesity as a ‘growing epidemic.’  Department of Health survey statistics indicated that 25% of children in this region are deemed to be overweight or obese.  The estimated costs of healthcare attached to weight problems are around £450 million, representing 2.8% of total healthcare expenditure.


3.3       Small changes across a range of arenas can help to turn the tide.  Implementing healthy snack choices, as part of the daily routine, significantly increases the capacity of positive choices becoming embedded, ultimately resulting in wider savings to the health sector.


3.4       Belfast City Council supports a range of services and programmes for children, including summer schemes and out of hours school clubs in areas facing disadvantage and food poverty.  Such spaces provide daily opportunities for children to undertake physical activity, learning and play.  It is worth noting the capacity for such spaces to further improve the health of children via the provision of small healthy snacks.


3.5       It is within this Council’s gift to contribute to the improvement of quality of daily life for children and to cement children’s positive relationship with food and nutrition.


            Accordingly the Council agrees that a report, looking at clubs located in areas of disadvantage and the potential for such spaces to incorporate healthy snacks, as part of out of hours schools provision during both term time and non-term time, be prepared.


            February 2020 Update


3.6       Officers provided members of P&C Committee with an update report re. action taken/progress against this NOM in February 2020. 


3.7       Almost all of the 22 BCC owned Community Centres have after schools’ activities in place for 5-11 year olds. Activities include a combination of drama/arts/crafts/open play/music etc. as well, to a lesser extent, sporting activities.  The main focus is on recreation and play.  In general food (as in a meal) is not provided due to the short time period the child is present (less than 2hrs).


3.8       Food provision is different at summer schemes as children usually attend for a longer session (2 hours or more with a break included).  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Sanitary Waste Pilot Update pdf icon PDF 256 KB


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Committee that, in February 2022, as part of an update on period poverty to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, officers had reported that the Community Awareness and Waste Education teams were developing a pilot initiative that would provide access to free, reusable sanitary products.


            The aim of the initiative was to raise awareness and to encourage increased use of reusable period products which would also have an environmental benefit as it would reduce the amount of period waste entering the waste stream.  Whilst primarily focused on waste reduction, it also had the benefit of providing a sustainable resource for those affected by period poverty.


            The pilot scheme had been launched on 30th March 2022 and was designed to provide free access to reusable sanitary products to people in the Belfast area. Council officers had worked with the social enterprise, ‘Hey Girls’, to deliver the scheme, where participants could register and order reusable sanitary products online.


            The Director advised that the Belfast pilot scheme had received unexpected and unprecedented levels of demand with over 2,750 orders made in less than 24 hours. Such was the level of demand that the notional budget officers had allocated to the scheme had required to be increased five-fold. Social media coverage and feedback on the scheme had been extremely positive and had praised the Council for bringing the initiative forward. Over 95,000 people had been reached through Council social media on the topic, with over 225,000 people having viewed twitter posts promoting the scheme.


            The Members were advised that officers were currently evaluating the scheme and the ongoing levels of interest to determine how future initiatives would be delivered. The pilot scheme had delivered products at no cost to maximise uptake, but was it anticipated that future schemes might need to include some contribution from participants to try and increase the numbers ultimately able to benefit.


            A Member welcomed the scheme and its overall success but stated that she would be keen not to see a charge introduced as she felt that this would go against the ethos of the scheme.


It was proposed by Councillor Mulholland, seconded by Councillor Kelly and subsequently agreed that, given the success of the initiative, a request be submitted to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee seeking it to find the budget to enable the provision of reusable sanitary products to continue to be funded and where possible that these products should continue to be offered free of charge or for a nominal charge at a minimum.



Active Belfast 2002/23 Approach pdf icon PDF 283 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to secure agreement on the use of Belfast City Council’s allocation to support Active Belfast in 2022/23.


1.2       Active Belfast (AB) is a multi-agency partnership supporting physical activity and healthy eating in Belfast. It is jointly funded by BCC (£90,000) and Public Health Agency (£146,000) per annum.


1.3       The overall funding allocated for Active Belfast is £236,000 per annum and remains unchanged from 2021/22, however officers wish to request to use part of the in-year BCC Active Belfast contribution (which up until 20/21 had been fully allocated to grants) to support the work of the Active Belfast Partnership (currently being re-established post Covid) and the identified key priority areas as outlined in section three of this report.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The committee is asked to:


·        Note the content of the report; and

·        To agree that the BCC contribution (£90K) to Active Belfast is utilised as outlined in the proposed budget profile for 22/23 detailed in Table 2 Section 3.5.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


            Members will be aware senior staff from Council, BHSCT and PHA have been considering the future of their joint working arrangements (staffing and financial resources) to address health inequalities in the Belfast area to include reviewing and reaffirming current commitments to the previous Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP) and the reduction of life inequalities in line with the Belfast Agenda/Community Plan, Making Life Better and a range of forthcoming strategic developments focussing on public health.  However, physical activity and healthy eating remain priority areas within the refreshed Belfast Agenda as well as wider health-focussed strategic documents.  Active Belfast therefore, both as an approach and as a partnership, will continue to develop over the coming months and years.  


3.2       20/21 Approach – Recap


            Historically, the two main initiatives supported by the Active Belfast Partnership were the Active Belfast Grant Scheme and Jog Belfast (Couch to 5K programme) with staff in the Belfast Health Development Unit (BHDU) promoting, administering and monitoring both initiatives.



            In 2021/22 People and Communities Committee agreed that;


·        Active Belfast grant holders from 20/21 would be offered continuation funding in order to complete their original programmes/initiatives in 21/22 to increase likelihood of sustainability in the future. For some, completion/achievement of all objectives had not been possible due to Covid regulations. Continuation was subject to meeting review criteria and agreeing a new action plan with relevant leads within BHDU for key performance indicators.

·        A developmental budget would be held for AB Partnership supported projects and initiatives – the intention being to further develop some of the more promising grants from last two-year period. These would be supported by BHDU, who would have responsibility for identifying priority areas for the refreshed partnership to consider.  Again, this would be subject to meeting set criteria and agreeing action plans, targets, etc.

·        Support would be provided in-year for Jog Belfast of £23,133 via the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Update pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            The purpose of the report is for members to consider a request to become a formal partner of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to


·        Agree that Belfast City Council becomes a formal partner of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. 


2.2       Members are advised that in becoming a partner, Council agrees:


·        To support the ethos of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and consider the Plan in policies, plans, and management decisions where possible.


·        To carry out one pollinator-friendly action in the first year of signing up and plan to carry out at least three more within the following five years. The guideline document lists 30 possible actions, many of which are low cost or cost neutral.

·        To update the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Team on the positive pollinator actions planned, implemented or maintained at the end of each year.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Insect pollination is essential to food production. ‘One out of every 3 mouthfuls’ is pollinated by insects.  Wild bees pollinate between 85-95% of the UK’s insect pollinated crops, while honeybees pollinate between 5-15%. This free service is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion each year.


3.2       More than half of our bee species have suffered declines over the past 50 years with over 250 UK pollinators in danger of extinction. Habitat loss is a major driver of pollinator declines and in Northern Ireland we have lost as much as 97% of our wildflower meadows in the last half century.


3.3       Members are reminded that in 2015 Belfast City Council endorsed and supported the first All-Ireland Pollinator Plan which aimed to take steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. 


3.4       Building on the success of the first Plan, the new Plan 2021 - 2025 has 6 objectives:


·        Making farmland pollinator friendly - By working together with the farming community, we want to achieve an increased awareness of pollinators and the resources they need in order to survive on farmland.


·        Making public land pollinator friendly - By working together with Councils, Transport Authorities, Local Communities and others, we want to better coexist with biodiversity and help return food and shelter for pollinators to our island.


·        Making private land pollinator friendly - From gardens, to businesses, faith communities and sports clubs, we want to work together to create networks of biodiversity-friendly habitat across our landscape.


·        All-Ireland Honeybee Strategy - By supporting beekeepers, we want to achieve healthy, sustainable populations, and for honeybees to be part of a cohesive pollinator message that balances managed and wild pollinator populations.


·        Conserving rare pollinators - By improving our knowledge on rare pollinators, and by raising awareness through dedicated initiatives, we want to achieve a Plan that protects as much wild pollinator diversity as possible.


·        Strategic coordination of the Plan - By continually raising awareness; addressing gaps in our knowledge through research; and by tracking where pollinators occur and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Disability Bowls Coaching Programme pdf icon PDF 258 KB


The Committee considered a report that provided the detail of a request received from the Irish Bowls Federation (IBF) seeking permission to develop a Disability Bowls Hub in Belfast, along with details of a proposed pilot project for a Disability Bowls Hub in Belfast.


            The Members were advised that in 2022 the IBF had undertaken a Club Engagement Survey (response rate of 73%). The key findings and emerging priorities from this survey had highlighted the following:


·        the under representation of women and girls;


·        a disability gap with a surprising lack of active playing members with a disability and provision;


·        an ageing demographic;


·        survival of clubs; and


·        a lack of any recognised club support structure to help with sustainability and growth.


            The IBF had since agreed to focus upon one emerging priority area, namely, the provision of more sporting opportunities for people with disabilities.


            The Members were advised that the IBF had identified Musgrave and Grove Bowling Pavilions as potential sites to develop the Disability Hub, given the availability of indoor halls for all year-round use.



            The Members’ attention was then drawn to the proposed short-term priorities for the programme - June to September 2022, as follows:


·        to investigate, develop and help implement a ‘Disability Bowls Hub’ pilot programme;

·        the provision of all equipment;

·        engagement with local community groups;

·        the provision of bowls coaching with experienced bowls coaches;

·        to encourage and promote wellness and well-being; and

·        to build a positive and inclusive sports culture.


            The Longer term aims and objectives were then highlighted, as follows:


·        to continue a working partnership with Belfast City Council to help promote and foster the development of talented athletes;


·        the provision of suitable facilities, for example, a bowling green and pavilion that was fully accessible to all disabilities with suitable equipment (adapted wheelchairs) for use on the bowling green; and


·        to develop athletes to represent Northern Ireland at prestigious International para and visually impaired events and establish the necessary infrastructure to facilitate their preparation, training and development.


            The Committee was advised that Northern Ireland was the only home country, which currently did not have para or visually impaired bowls representatives at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.


            The Committee noted the key findings from the recently commissioned research and the level of existing support mechanisms within the sport of bowls and welcomed this proposed pilot project.  Several Members stated that they would be keen to ensure that this valuable work was extended and built upon following the initial pilot.


            Following discussion, the Committee:


·        agreed to support a pilot project up to a maximum of £6,000 with the view of developing a “Disability Bowls Hub” to provide more sporting opportunities for people with disabilities and agreed that this pilot would be extended to include those with unseen disabilities; and


·        noted the need to extend the work beyond the actual pilot and agreed that, following the pilot, officers would review its success and submit a report to Committee that would explore  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Operational Issues


Request to hold events in Parks - June/July 2022 pdf icon PDF 304 KB


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reported that several requests had been received from event organisers seeking to host events in a number of Belfast park locations during June and July 2022.


            She detailed that the following applications had been received:


·        Finaghy Residents Association seeking to host the Finaghy Cultural Festival to take place between 9th – 13th June at Wedderburn Park;


·        County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast to host their annual Twelfth of July celebrations at Barnett Demesne and a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in the grounds of the City Hall; and


·        the County Grand Orange Lodge regarding the use of the Barnett’s Demesne for its Belfast demonstrations on 12th July. 


            The Committee acceded to the requests, subject to an appropriate legal agreement being prepared by Legal Services and granted delegated authority to the Director of Neighbourhood Services to:


·        negotiate satisfactory terms and conditions of use via an appropriate legal agreement prepared by the City Solicitor, including managing final booking confirmation dates and flexibility around ‘set up’ and take down’ periods, and booking amendments, subject to:


o   the organisers resolving any operational issues to the Council’s satisfaction;

o   compliance with Coronavirus restrictions in place at the time of the event; and

o   the events meeting all statutory requirements including Public Liability Insurance cover, Health and Safety, and licensing responsibilities, including terms and conditions of the Parks Entertainment License; and

o   the organisers consulting with adjoining public bodies and local communities as necessary.


            The Members noted that the above recommendations were taken as a pre-policy position, in advance of the Council agreeing a more structured framework and policy for ‘Events’, which was currently being taken forward in conjunction with the Council’s Commercial team.



Roll out of 'Take 5' Benches in Belfast City Council Parks pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1             To update Committee on work proposed to locate approx. 16 ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’ benches across Council’s parks (up to 4 per locality i.e. North, South, East and West) in 2022/23. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The committee is asked to:


·        Note the content of the report; and


·        Agree to the Department’s request to work in partnership with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to use park benches to promote the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’ approach as well as information contained on the PHA’s Minding Your Head website, accessible via a QR code visible on each bench. Up to sixteen benches will be identified within parks across the city, four benches within each locality.  Belfast Health Development Unit staff will work with BCC Open Space and Street Scene Managers to identify and agree locations.


3.0       Main report


            Background to Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing


3.1       The Public Health Agency have adopted the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing messages as a key component in their work supporting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing is a set of evidence-based public health messages aimed at improving the wellbeing of the whole population. It is based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) as the result of research undertaken as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing (2008).


3.2       The 5 steps are; ‘Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give’ – please refer to the leaflet in Appendix 1 for more information or visit: to access downloadable PDFs.  These simple and effective messages are based on solid evidence and draw on a wealth of psychological and economic literature from inter-disciplinary work.  Evidence indicates individuals who practice all ‘5 steps’ have the highest level of wellbeing regardless of circumstances.


3.3       Council already supports the ‘Take 5’ approach both internally through the promotion of the ‘Take 5’ messages across all BCC facilities as well as externally via social media, open call grant funding, and its work with partners under community planning. BCC staff located within the Belfast Health Development Unit are also supporting this work by providing resources and training opportunities linked directly to the ‘Take 5’ approach.  BHDU have also produced a useful toolkit which can be viewed online:


            Background to proposed Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing Benches initiative


3.4       Pre-covid and following a request from the local community and subsequent meetings and discussions facilitated by staff from within the Belfast Health Development Unit, a ‘Wellbeing’ bench was placed in Falls Park in West Belfast in December 2019 in partnership with St Paul’s ABC and Suicide Awareness Support Group. 


3.5       In the interim period, other councils have installed similar ‘Chatty Benches’ in some of their parks also focussing on the Take 5 messaging (i.e. take notice and connect) such as Ards and North Down, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and Mid East Antrim  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Request to Present - Presentation in relation to inclusive parks (Councillor McMullan)


With the permission of the Deputy Chairperson, Councillor McMullan addressed the Committee and detailed a request for representatives from PlayBoard NI and the Mae Murray Foundation to be invited to the June meeting of the People and Communities Committee.  He advised that this was in relation to a Notice of Motion that was due to be presented to the Standards and Business Committee at its meeting scheduled for 24th May in relation to Inclusive Parks.


            The Committee acceded to the request, subject to the approval of the Standards and Business Committee and Council ratification.