February has flown by after the very long January we seemed to have. This month, the focus at the Council was next year’s budget – which I scrutinised as part of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 15th and which I voted in favour of at Full Council on the 23rd.
You can watch my speech about supporting the budget here:
For context the ‘glum faces’ I was referring to were as a result of 3 hours debating amendments to the budget put forward by the Opposition. It was late – we were all tired after a month of budget meetings and getting into the detail – but I felt we were all forgetting the really brilliant things our budget was going to deliver, and the investments we were going to make to make our residents’ lives better.
Anyway – long story short – the Budget passed and we can look forward to:
£1.2m investment ibn our parks and green spaces
5000 more trees
A dedicated fly-tipping task force
£1.8m towards waste and recycling on the road to net zero
Cleaner town centres, as we bring back jet-washing
Almost £1m for Greenwich Supports – to help tackle poverty
Keeping our social rents the lowest in London
A £500k hardship fund to help tenants who are struggling to pay their rent
A new regeneration team focussed on delivering more homes for our residents
Investing in a carbon neutral taskforce – as we aim to hit net zero by 2030
And most crucially – we are protecting our frontline services for our residents. It is an awful lot to celebrate!
Better connectivity (face to face and digital!) in Eltham
This month I went to the opening of a new Council Service Centre which is situated in the Eltham Centre and is open from 9am -5pm, Monday to Friday every week. I’m delighted that we now have this service in Eltham, and that residents who are not comfortable using digital services can now go to speak to a person ‘in real life’ here in Eltham, rather than trekking to Woolwich. Click here for more information.
I was also thrilled to launch our new mobile SIM scheme for low income households - The Good Things Foundation has provided 7,200 free SIM cards for RBG residents, which are being distributed through our libraries. Mobile and data connectivity is a necessity in today’s world – and being digitally excluded can also prevent people from education or finding work. More information on eligibility and when/where you can receive a SIM card can be found here.
Cleaning up Eltham High Street
Following lots of internal lobbying, jet-washing will return to Eltham High Street, which Cllr Sammy Backon and I are thrilled about. We know lots of people have been concerned about the cleanliness of the High Street – so we hope this will go some way to improving things.
We have also written and hand-delivered letters to all business owners on and around the High Street to ask them to join the Love Your High Street campaign – aiming to support and improve the cleanliness of our High Street. This campaign pre-dates us becoming councillors, but only four business owners in the area had signed up. We are hoping that the personal appeal might work – so watch this space and we will let you know if we have any more success. You can read the letter
Out and about
Sammy and I were delighted to pop by the Tennis Courts at Eltham Park South to meet with TwistFizz, the social enterprise which manages the courts. The kids seemed to be having a great time learning how to play tennis – and I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to join them!
We also joined a Riefield Road Residents’ Association Meeting and discussed the key issues facing residents, including the cleanliness of their street and drivers ignoring the 20 MPH limit on a regular basis. We have raised some casework on their behalf and we hope to join them for another rmeeting soon. If you are in a residents’ association in our ward, and would like us to come to a meeting, please do get in touch!