Minutes of Equality and Diversity Steering Group Meeting

Wednesday 27th October 2021 – Town Hall – Committee Room

1. Attendance

Rother Seniors Forum

Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance

Ability to Access

Rother District Council

Rother Voluntary Action

Little Gate Farm

DISC Dementia Support

Cllr Chris Madeley

Cllr Lynn Langlands

Rosemary Iddenden

Alan Care

2. Apologies:

South Downs; Care for the Carers; Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance; Sussex Police; James Waite and Marks Adams from Rother District Council

3. Speaker – Teresa from RVA spoke about HAIRE project.

Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE) is funded by the Interreg 2 Seas programme and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It aims to empower older people, 60 plus to define what support they need, participate in the design of services, and develop solutions for themselves. In the pilot sites across Europe some important key changes are expected which include:

  • reduce isolation & loneliness & improve wellbeing in the 60+ age group,
  • increase collaboration between Public Sector and Voluntary & Community Sector Organisations,
  • improve rural community vitality,
  • increase active participation of older people & voluntary sector in service design & delivery and
  • create new models of service delivery.

In Rother the project is focussing on Rye, Robertsbridge and surrounding areas and during 2020/21:

  • recruited and trained 16 volunteers who have held 76 Guided Conversations with older people,
  • analysed over 200 hours’ worth of information about Health and Wellbeing,
  • commenced follow-up guided conversations and
  • held events around the key themes that emerged from these conversations, reducing loneliness, accessing information, managing change and staying active.

Over the coming year the team will be working with the local community to test some of the ideas that have been generated and, by working closely with Rother District Council, will ensure that what we have learned supports the development of Rother District Council’s Age Friendly Rother initiative to improve the experience of older people across Rother. If you would like to more about HAIRE than please contact Teresa Flower email: Teresa.flower@rva.uk.org

You can read more about Age Friendly Communities here: https://ageing-better.org.uk/uk-network-age-friendly-communities.

4. . Rother Corporate Equality Objectives 2022

The group went through each draft objective and referred each one to the Rother Corporate plan objectives to make sure that they would be embedded with the council, a discussion took place and the group said that they would take them away and come back with any further comments.

Action: MJ to meet with DP to go through these Corporate Equality Objectives for 2022- Any comments to go to DP

5. Customer Services Charter

Head of Housing and Community Service came and gave us a quick over view of the new customer services charter. He spoke about how they would like to get residents of Rother as well as all the local community groups, he asked if the members of the group would like to be involved. So, they can map the customers journey and there will be an internal group that will be focusing on customers accessing services across the service departments within the council, they will be mapping all the services and looking at what services we provide and demographics of Rother.

6. Organisations update

Rother Senior Form – at present due to Covid19 we have not had any meetings or activities, the only form of communication with our 600 members have been the Newsletters. We hope to start our meetings from next month (November 2021), if there are no new covid restrictions.

Hastings & Rother Rainbow Alliance – aims to promote awareness of issues regarding the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans etc) communities and supports a range of social groups to reduce isolation amongst its members. With relaxation of covid restrictions several groups are now meeting face-toface, including the walking group, a choir, an evening pub social, afternoon tea groups and some book groups. Others like the trans groups continue to meet on Zoom, which many members prefer, with additional get-togethers. There is still a lot of hate crime, especially towards trans members. Rainbow Alliance is working with the police to enable members to feel more confident about reporting hate incidents and being listened to.

Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance – has now reconvened regular meetings in person and the first one occurred in September. Sally Hemmings kindly offered to take over as Chair and was re-elected for a further year. An event to re-launch BDAA and to offer a one stop shop for anyone involved with dementia locally is planned. The idea would be to have an event at which we could invite organisations, voluntary groups, statutory sector etc, as well as people with dementia and their carers. It would be an opportunity for people with dementia to see what is going on locally, for professionals to link with each other and for BDAA to raise its profile this is taking place on Friday 3rd December.

Home Instead Bexhill and Rother District Council have re-launched the Companionship Café on the third Friday of each month 2-4pm at St Augustine’s Hall in Bexhill. We have had a good response so far, it may take a little time to build numbers up, but it has started well. Herington’s are paying the hall hire for the first six months and Home Instead CAREGivers volunteer their time and baking skills. We are looking for different/new activities for the structured element of the Café and we have had a singer at the first one and a Ukulele player at the second both of whom were well received. Would like some funding to help with future entertainment/activity costs.

Dementia Information and Support Courses ( DISC)– are carrying on with there dementia carers 6 weeks course and you can refer any carer, neighbour or family members that have someone living with dementia, just call Emma or Louise on 07591251005 or email admin@disdementiasupport.org. We have carer groups in Hastings, Eastbourne and Robertsbridge, sing and social group at Robsack centre in Hastings once a month on Wednesday. We have just started a craft group on 22nd September at Robsack centre Hastings that went well. DISC can give you advice, support or mentoring even if the person that is living with dementia has not been diagnosed.

Little Gate Farm – this is a link to the newsletter up that shows what we have been doing at Little Gate. Also, we have our event on Saturday 4th December at 4pm at the Farm, everyone welcome.

https://www.littlegate.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Autumn-2021-Newsletter-Final.pdf

Ability to Access

Dance-Ability is: I currently run Ability to Access as an informal sign-posting service, but may re-start this in 2022, as I am currently busy with setting up my exercise to music classes, for people and groups who find it hard to access via standard ETM type classes due to: mental health, ill-health and anxiety type issues. Aging and age-related conditions as well as some life changing conditions like sight loss and blindness or physical disabilities.

I am due to start a 6-week trail ETM run at the Bexhill Senior Citizens Club in Bexhill on Saturday, 6th November starting at 11am and hoping to do:

  • 3 ETM sessions
  • 1 OR 2 LOW LEVEL
  • 1 OR 2 MEDIUM TO HIGHER LEVELS.

(dependent upon who turns up and need etc).

Active Rother are kindly sponsoring me to start up these sessions.

Action: – Please could the group advertise the sessions

Rother Voluntary Action – the community network meetings have been carrying on through zoom throughout the covid restrictions, so that we can support and give advice everyone within the district, especially as some groups have been helping their communities with food parcels etc. We have a Rural Rother Network which is being held on Wednesday 17th November from 9.30 – 12.30 at the Emmanuel Centre Battle, a Make it Happen sparks event in the New year, we are giving help advice to community groups with the covid guidelines so they can start up their support groups and events. Also, we supported the Age Well 21st Century event that Rother District Council and Active Rother put together at the De la Warr it was a brilliant event and it was a great turnout.

8. Dates of future meetings for 2022 at the Town Hall

  • Wednesday 23rd March at 2pm
  • Wednesday 20th July at 2pm
  • Wednesday 19th October at 2pm