1. Attendance

  • Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance
  • Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance
  • Care for the Carers
  • Little Gate Farm
  • Rother District Council
  • Cllr Chris Madeley
  • Cllr Lynn Langland
  • Citizens Advice

2. Apologies

  • DISC Dementia Support
  • Sussex Police
  • Rother Voluntary Action
  • Dance-Ability
  • Homecall
  • Rother Seniors Forum
  • East Sussex Hearing
  • Human Resources & Customer Services from Rother District Council

Malcolm Johnson opened the meeting by welcoming new members to the group and informing the group that he will be retiring at the end of May 2023, so this will be his last meeting.

The group sent their condolences to Cathy Care, on regards of the passing of her husband Alan Care, who will be highly missed member of this group.

3. Tracy – Citizens Advice

Tracy showed the group a PowerPoint presentation about Citizen Advice and what issues residents are facing and how they can get the help & advice.

Tracey said thank you to everyone for listening to her and if you want to contact her then please email or phone.

4. Richard – Elections at RDC

Richard went through the voting photo ID requirements with the group.

Voter ID – Introduction

  • The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station.
  • This new requirement will apply for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023
  • Anyone who does not have an existing form of acceptable photo ID will be able to apply for a free voter ID Document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate

Accepted forms of photo ID

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth country.
  • Driving license issued by the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state.
  • A blue badge
  • Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • Oyster 60+ Card
  • Freedom Pass
  • National Entitlement Card
  • Smart Pass (Senior, Registered Blind or Blind Person’s, War Disablement or War Disabled, 60+, Half Fare)
  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Biometric immigration document
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90
  • National identity card issued by an EEA state.

If you need any paper copies of about voter’s ID’s, information, easy read and leaflets then please collect from Debbie. Also, electronic copies are available for everyone and if you would like a copy of this presentation. Please email Elections@rother.gov.uk

5. Organisations Update

Hastings & Rother Rainbow Alliance

Have just produced a new booklet which outlines our aims in raising awareness of the needs of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans +) local communities, and details the wide range of social groups we support to prevent social isolation. (Available at RDC reception)

The Council will again be flying the new Progressive Pride flag over the Town Hall on IDAHOBIT Day (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) May 17th. Hate crime, particularly against trans people, is still very prevalent. Rainbow Alliance trustees will be holding an awareness session for Rother councillors and officers on May 15th.

We are liaising with the latest Community Engagement police officer for LGBT communities.

Many thanks to Debbie from Rother District Council for her help in arranging equipment for our AGM 24th March 2023, where we have a presentation by actor and researcher Clare Summerskill on LGBT Oral History.

Little Gate Farm

A few things to update on: –

  • We have just moved into our new offices in Bexhill in High Weald House. We are creating more opportunities in the Bexhill area, and this will be a great hub for all our colleagues who work remotely.  Our colleagues are already loving it. We also work very closely with The Pelham so great to now be a neighbour.
  • We are currently part of the Hastings Connected Futures project – looking at disadvantaged young people who are NEET an important project reviewing the impact of employment for all young people including the LD/Autistic community we serve and to support this to work for the future it needs the support of Local Employers and community groups.
  • Little Gate Big Cream Tea – cream tea (incredible cakes!) at the farm with music (most likely Jazz!) Sunday 14th May 1pm until 5pm.
  • We are recruiting for several vacancies both working on our Supported Employment programme and at the farm itself.  Here is a link Work for us — Little Gate   Vacancies include – Job Coach,  Employer Engagement Officer, Skills Coach (Catering at the Farm), Cut Flower Social Enterprise Leader, Children and Young People Outdoor Learning Facilitator, Young Ranger Facilitator, Young Ranger Support Staff, Digital Communications Officer.
  • We had a successful day at the De La Warr Jobs Fair last week and got several CVs for some of these posts.
  • This week is Neurodiverse Celebration Week and yesterday we were invited to DWP JCP to showcase what we do.  There were three of us, one of our job coaches, one of our trainees and me.  It was a virtual presentation to Work Coaches and colleagues in JCPs across the South East. We were able to deliver ours from the Bexhill JCP office itself.  At one stage there were 966 viewers! We had a lot of positive comments afterwards. It was a great way to encourage work coaches to speak to employers and clients about us.


Since the last meeting, we have had several events.

We held a Christmas Fayre at the end of November which was well attended and raised money for Homecall.

A Christmas Party was held at the Egerton Bowls club for Homecall clients, volunteers, and supporters. Everyone had a lovely time and for those clients that were not able to attend a Christmas present was delivered.

We held a fundraising quiz night at the end of February which was good fun and the first quiz night organised since the lockdown.

In February we celebrated 4years of the VIP HUB coffee morning at Wetherspoon, Bexhill. This is a weekly drop in coffee morning for any visually impaired person in the area to come along to and meet others. We are grateful for the support provided by the team at The Picture Playhouse.

Recently we have had visits from Cllr Ian Hollidge who has been listening to the concerns about the pavements in the area. This has been very beneficial and on his last visit he also attended with a member of the enforcement team of East Sussex Highways who explained how issues can be raised.

A notable achievement is that the Homecall volunteer team, as a collective group were awarded volunteer of the year award at the RVA AGM in December. The 5 volunteers that attended to collect the award on behalf of everyone had 108 years volunteering between them. The award was very much deserved, and the volunteer team continue to support visually impaired people remain independent in their own homes.

Since September 2022 an additional 10 visually impaired people have joined Homecall to benefit from our home visiting scheme and another 3 people are awaiting assessment.

In addition to self-referrals, referrals are received from a variety of sources including the PCN (Primary Care Network) Social Services, RNIB, Bexhill Hospital and local charities.

We are trying to raise awareness of Homecall and generate interest in volunteering we have made an appeal on the RVA website, I have attended a social morning at the Marina to do a talk and I am planning on writing to see if the local paper is able to help. We are also planning on attending some of the events planned later in the year on the sea front. This is in addition to social media posts and mentioning at our fundraising events where possible. Any other suggestions and ideas are greatly received.

Care for the Carers

Think Caring awareness training, will be available online through our website, if you want any more information then please contact Carole Gregory.

The Sussex Carers Partnership, which includes Care for the Carers, Carers Support West Sussex and The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove, we have secured funding from Carers Trust to help develop services that will address the barriers, challenges and needs experienced by under-represented carers from ethnic minority communities across Sussex.

Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance (BDAA)

Singing Down Memory Lane has changed its venue to St Augustine’s Church Hall & is now taking on a Friday morning every fortnight and has been coordinated by Home Instead but it run by a group of volunteers. Also, the Companionship café has continued to take place on 3rd Friday of the month at St. Augustine’s Church Hall Cooden Drive Bexhill, this has continued to be supported by Rother District Council, Herrington’s and Home Instead, there is range of activities that people can join in, with refreshments, which is free to everyone.

We will be arranging another information event for National Dementia Action Alliance week (15th – 25th May 2023) as the last one a great success. Also, we are looking at accessible venues for Dementia Friendly film screenings. BDAA will be looking at having another Memory Walk in September.

6. Hastings and Rother Ageing Well Network Meeting

The meeting took place on 14th November at the Town Hall in Bexhill in the Council Chamber, we had a brilliant turn out. It was decided that we would have separate meetings for Hastings and Rother and then met up jointly a couple of times a year, so that each Ageing well network could look at issues and gaps in services in each area. The next Rother Ageing network meeting is on 22nd March at the Town Hall, and we will be looking at the work that Citizen advice are doing on digital exclusion and there will be a presentation from Richard about voting with photo ID. We will be arranging these meetings every eight weeks. If you have not been invited, then please fill in your contact details so that Naomi from RVA can send you an email invite with the agenda.

7. Future Speakers and AOB

We would like Lucie Bolton coming along to talk about Rother Environmental strategy and Elise about the village hall project. Also, about asking Josh Broadway from Bexhill PCN to talk about Social Prescribing.

At the end of the meeting Lorna said that she will be taking over Malcolm’s role as chair for future meetings.

Rother DC in partnership with Sussex Police, RVA, DLWP, Southern Housing & 18hours we are relaunching Rother Race Action Forum and looking at holding an event on Black History month in 2024.

8. Dates of future meetings for 2023 at the Town Hall

Committee room 2pm-4pm

  • Wednesday 15th March
  • Wednesday 19th July
  • Wednesday 15th November
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