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Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
Parish Council

DRAFT MINUTES of the meeting of THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Committee held at 7:30pm on Thursday 8th April 2021 via Teams Video Conferencing.  

Members present: 

Claire Majsai (Chair) Duncan Ranger 

Bob Sampson (Vice-Chair)

Helen Olsen Bedford (Co-opted) 

Tony Lank Peter Griffiths 

Seth Jee Malcolm Llewellyn 

Also present: 

Lorna Cooksey Assistant Clerk  

PCSO Nathaniel Wales 

Brian Davies from The Monday Group 

Jim Redwood from The Monday Group 

Graham Odlin from Downlands School 

CE20/21.034Apologies for Absence: Apologies for absence were received by Cllr Avery.  

CE20/21.035Declarations of Interest: A declaration of interest was declared by Cllr Sampson at 8.39pm for Hurst Festival during item 8.3.  

CE20/21.036Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Community Engagement Committee of 14th January 2021: The minutes of 14th January 2021 were received and accepted and will be signed by the Chair at the next available opportunity.  

CE20/21.037Adjournment for Questions from the Public: There being no members of the public present the committee was not required to adjourn in accordance with standing orders.  

CE20/21.038. Police in the Community: The Chair introduced the committee to PCSO Nathaniel Wales and welcomed a brief overview of his role. PCSO Wales explained he was present on behalf of his colleagues who normally patrol the Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common parish. Cllr Lank requested a regular presence at the South Avenue Recreation ground and the Bowls Club due to issues with youths including a recent bonfire. PCSO Wales confirmed that Sgt Jon Crabtree was aware of the incident and this area would become a focus. Cllr Ranger asked for confirmation of how often the PCSO will be present in the parish. PCSO Wales commented that because of the pandemic it has been difficult to engage with the community, but the intention is to patrol more often, stop and walk the parks and areas that are known to have problems. The PCSO in Hurstpierpoint are very new but it is hoped over time rapport will be built between the youths, community, businesses etc. PCSO Wales explained that there are patrol plans, but these cannot be disclosed but they specifically target problem areas. These patrols then feed into a direct patrol activity report. Cllr Griffiths asked if the PCSO who covers youth engagement could come and brief the committee on their work. PCSO Wales explained that there are two PCSO who cover a wider area and they normally work directly with schools, youth clubs as this is where individuals are normally identified. PCSO Wales confirmed he would speak to the PCSO to see if they could attend a future meeting. The Chair asked whether the reported dog thefts were actually a problem. PCSO Wales confirmed that nationally there is a problem but due to social media the reports have been taken out of context and that the information being reported is not correct. If intelligence being reported is accurate these cases can be looked into and then ruled out. The Chair thanked PCSO Wales for attending the meeting and invited the PCSOs to attend further meetings.  

PCSO Nathaniel Wales left the meeting at 19:47pm.  

CE20/21.039The Monday Group: The Chair thanked the Monday Group for the detailed annual report and figures that had been sent to the Councillors. One of the representatives thanked the committee for the grant received at the start of the year. It was explained that 2020 had been a very good year for Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common with a total of 54 jobs being completed from a total of 173. It was felt that more work has been carried out due to the increase in surveys. In the next two weeks six more jobs are planned specifically for the Hurstpierpoint area. The committee all agreed that the work carried out by the Monday Group is highly valuable and very much appreciated.  

It was discussed how dog owners are the main users and that dog gates are installed where possible although the Highway Act does not provide for dogs. The Monday Group confirmed they will always request for a dog gate if there is room, but it is the landowner’s responsibility for the structure subject to West Sussex approval so this will dictate what is installed. Cllr Llewellyn asked whether the Monday Group could submit a programme of activity to the parish office, so that everyone is aware of work that is being carried out and completed. The representatives explained that as there are three separate teams it is not always possible to know what work is scheduled and that priority is taken for carrying out work rather than admin. It was agreed that if they can update the parish office they will. The Chair commented on the craftmanship of the stiles and the impact it has on the countryside. A discussion took place on training younger volunteers and whether apprenticeships could be offered. It was confirmed that currently the volunteers are both male and female and everyone is welcome on a Monday morning, but the average age currently is 60+. Work has been carried out with the National Trust and local Cub groups and where resources allow the Monday Group are happy to get involved. The Chair thanked the Monday Group for joining the meeting and for all their work in the parish.  

The representatives left the meeting at: 20:03pm 

CE20/21.040Parish Council Grant Applications

Grant Applications to be considered 2021/22 

Grant Budget 2021/22: £4,000 

Organisation Grant Request For Amount Requested Grant Approved 
Hurst Rethink To help finance the Hurst Garden Rethink campaign. £500 Grant Declined 
Victim Support  Support for victims and volunteers. During the last 12 month’s figures show that in the parishes postcode there were 208 reported crimes with 80 being domestic violence cases.  £300 Approved £300 

The Hurst Rethink grant was discussed in length by the committee with everyone agreeing that the concept of ‘No Mow May’ is a great idea. It was highlighted by the Chair that the Parish Council have agreed to work in partnership with Hurst Rethink and have agreed to publicise using our website and Facebook page. It was also discussed that some Parish Council land will feature in the campaign and some councillors expressed disappointment that currently there doesn’t seem to be a mention on any social media platforms that there is a partnership between the Parish Council and Hurst Rethink. Co-opted member Olsen Bedford agreed that she fully supported the campaign but that the information sent did not explain how this grant would be spent and she was struggling to understand the costs. This was agreed by the committee in full. The committee agreed to decline the grant but wanted to convey to Hurst Rethink that the Parish Council fully support the idea, will continue to advertise using the Parish Council’s website, Facebook page and Hurst Life, and will include our estate (where possible) in the campaign. However, due to the increase in need, particularly amongst vulnerable groups, as a result of the pandemic, funding would not be granted on this occasion. It was highlighted that further plans in the future might  be considered and another grant request could be submitted.  

The Committee all supported the Victim Support application and awarded the full amount of £300.  

CE20/21.040.1 Health & Wellbeing Budget  

Grant application to be considered for Health and Wellbeing Budget 2021/2022: 

Health & Wellbeing Grants budget 2021/2022 £1,000 

Health & Wellbeing Projects budget 2021/2022 £1,000 

Organisation  Grant Request For Amount Requested Grant Approved 
Downlands School  To fund our school counsellor to be in school for two days a week. They are currently with us for one day. We have had a significant increase in need for our counsellor since the first lockdown and after the second one, it has increased again. We have many students that need emotional support.  We are currently supporting as many students as we can but have an ever-increasing waiting list and want to do more to help our students. The total we need to raise is £10,000 this will provide enough for us to have our school counsellor in school for a second day every week.  Any amount that you are able to grant us towards this would be gratefully received.  

The Chair requested for item 7.1 to be discussed before item 7.0 as a representative from Downlands school was present. The Chair explained to the committee that an advert had been seen regarding the request for funding for counselling at Downland School and that contact had been made and an application sent. The representative explained he was one of the Assistant Heads at Downlands School mainly looking after welfare, support and special educational needs of the students. For the last seven years a counselling project has been running with the YMCA who are very experienced and highly recommended. Currently one counsellor attends one day a week from 9am – 3pm seeing a maximum of six students for 45 minutes costing £10,000 for the year. Students are referred but must be willing to attend. Each student can have a maximum of six sessions although this can be reduced. With 1,200 students the capacity is not enough as currently only 36 students are seen a year. The Chair asked if there were areas of concerns at the moment and it was commented that the two main areas are self-harm but not just cutting this included eating disorders and substance misuse. The second being a form of neglect causing low self-esteem issues. This is normally seen in January as it is when families are together for an extended period but because of the pandemic it has been seen recently. The Chair asked if funding was received from the NHS or West Sussex to pay for the provision of a Counsellor. The representative confirmed that funding is not received and for many years they are applied for grants and raised funds for this service.  

Cllr Llewellyn explained that as a Parish Council a clear line of sight of where a grant is spent is very important and it could not be diluted within school funds. It was explained that as the YMCA invoice Downlands School for the service,  the grant could be paid directly to them. Collectively the Councillors agreed that they fully supported the grant and wanted to help. Cllr Jee asked whether it had been considered asking parents to contribute towards the cost of the service, but it was confirmed that is very difficult to ask as it compromises the service and who it then becomes available to. The PTA do try and raise funds but due to the pandemic this has not been possible. The Chair explained that a discussion was needed to work out if the grant is possible but agreed that it is very important, and all would like to support.  

The representative thanked the committee for listening to his presentation and for any support that could be given. The representative left the meeting at: 20:17pm. 

The committee discussed the issues surrounding who the grant was paid to and all agreed that the money would need to be paid directly to the YMCA and not Downlands School. It was agreed that a sum of £1,000 would be granted from the Health and Wellbeing grant budget but would need to discuss with the representative whether the YMCA could bill the Parish Council directly for £1,000 for counselling at Downlands School. The committee noted that if a further grant for counselling was requested later in the year it again would likely be considered as a cause that the committee would support as all were concerned about the current issues around young people’s mental health.  

CE20/21.041. Community Initiatives and projects 

CE20/21.041.1 Budget Monitoring:  The committee noted the budget monitoring report for the Committee. The Chair commented that any unspent Community Engagement budget at the end of the financial year would be transferred to the General Reserve. Councillor Llewellyn confirmed that the money would not be lost to the Council but would form part of the General Reserve unless Council determined to reallocate for other purposes.  

              CE20/21.042.2 Review of Action Plan: The committee agreed for the Chair to look at the action plan in detail and review and amalgamate and bring back to a future meeting.  

CE20/21.042.3 Hurst Festival Update: The Chair confirmed that the Hurst Festival is currently going ahead as a live event and thanked the Hurst Festival committee for sending all the requested information. Cllr Jee commented that a third of attendance of the Super Sunday event is from people outside of the parish so felt the amount granted should be reduced to reflect this. Several Councillors commented that encouraging outsiders to come and spend their money in the Highstreet is positive and shouldn’t be deterred. A decision was made to support the Super Sunday event for £2,500 in 2021.  

Co-opted member Olsen Bedford agreed to become the Parish Council’s representative for discussing the Hurst Festival in the future.  

CE20/21.042.4 Heritage Trail: The Assistant Clerk updated the committee that contact had been made again with the owner of 71 High Street and a contract was being drawn up by the Clerk. On the 22nd April the Clerk and Assistant Clerk plan to work on the Mid Sussex application form. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed that Christopher Maidment had updated the map, leaflet and website to show the correct logo for the Parish Council and the Hurstpierpoint Society were in a position to move forward once all permissions had been received.  

CE20/21.042.5 Communication Strategy:  The committee noted that a Communication Strategy meeting was held on 23rd February 2021 via ‘Teams’ and attended by the Chair of Council, Chair of Community Engagement, Clerk and Assistant Clerk. The Chair expressed how proactive the Parish Council had become in the last year and that the feedback has been really positive about the Hurst Life article, Facebook page and the website.  

The High Street Representative was discussed, and Cllr Ranger volunteered to be the face of the Parish Council and to help build a relationship between the traders and the Councillors. Co-opted member Olsen Bedford offered to become involved and visit the traders alongside Cllr Ranger. It was commented by several councillors that we want to help the traders speak with one voice and can provide them with the space and expertise to help with this. Cllr Llewellyn highlighted that the Clerk has experience of this from a previous role and has a lot of ideas to help. Cllr Ranger confirmed that he would not approach the traders until the shops re-open properly.  

CE20/21.042.6 Christmas LightsThe Chair briefed the committee on the information received on the costs of adding Christmas lights to lamp posts in Sayers Common and confirmed that roughly three could be purchased with the remaining budget. Cllr Sampson confirmed that from the Community Shop to Dunlop Close there are six lamp posts, from the shop to Reeds Lane there are nine lamp posts and from the shop to the Duke of York there are twelve lamp posts. Cllr Jee commented that the Village Society may be able to raise additional funds to purchase further Christmas lights to add to the three the Parish Council could purchase this year. Cllr Lank asked if the Community Shop may want to donate by Cllr Sampson confirmed that due to the pandemic, they are using reserves to be able to run and wouldn’t be supporting any grants this year. Cllr Llewellyn asked for confirmation of where the central point of the village is from the point of view of residents. Cllr Sampson confirmed this is the Village Hall. Cllr Jee commented that three lights may not go down very well with the residents in Sayers Common especially compared to the display in Hurstpierpoint and felt that three lights should not be put up unless more could be purchased. The committee discussed making a two-year plan for Christmas lights for Sayers Common and setting up an earmarked reserve for Christmas Lights specially for Sayers Common so in two years six streetlamp Christmas lights could be purchased.  

Cllr Jee confirmed he would discuss the project with the Village Society and report back in the June Community Engagement meeting if any funds could be raised for this project. The Assistant Clerk was asked to contact the supplier to determine the time frame needed for this project.  

CE20/21.042.7 Annual Parish Meeting: The Chair thanked Co-opted member Olsen Bedford for her work with the working group and for setting up the webinar. The Chair confirmed that we will continue to go ahead with the planned evening as a webinar. Cllr Llewellyn agreed that the working group should continue with this route but asked for the trial run on the 4th May to be moved as this would now conflict with another meeting. The Chair asked for the committee to promote the evening to friends, neighbours, residents to ensure that we have a good audience. 

CE20/21.042.8 Youth Club Provision in Hurstpierpoint: The committee noted a meeting is scheduled for April 20th via Microsoft ‘Teams’ to discuss the youth club provision in Hurstpierpoint. The purpose of this meeting is to try and find a sustainable solution for funding to ensure the youth club can continue to run. Invitations have been sent to representatives from Sussex Clubs for Young People, Clarion Housing, Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex County Council and Hurst Music Club.  

CE20/21.043. Publicity: The Committee noted the following: 

CE20/21.043.1 Communication: The Chair confirmed that there are currently not any newsletters being written. Due to the increase in Hurst Life pages each month the budget lines for Community Engagement have now been combined and re-named Communication. Cllr Llewellyn asked if the committee was happy about the increase in costs and whether this was questioned. The Assistant Clerk confirmed that she had a conversation with the editor, and they confirmed that even with this increase they were not covering costs. The Chair requested that the Assistant Clerk contacted Hurst Life to notify them that budgets are set in December for the Parish Council so we must be notified in advance about any price increase.  

CE20/21.043.Website: The committee noted that the website continues to be developed and used to communicate to the parish. The Assistant Clerk has been making changes on pricing fees (buildings, cemeteries), grant information, meetings calendar etc. to ensure all information is up to date for the new financial year.  

New pages have been created for volunteering information and history on the Parish. The Assistant Clerk has been gathering information on street names in the parish and a member of the Hurstpierpoint Society is kindly looking at this information which will then be taken to Council before it is added to the website. Changes have also been made on our enquiry/contact forms and the layout of the announcement page.   

CE20/21.043.3 Social Media:  The committee noted that the Assistant Clerk organised a Facebook campaign to promote the Parish Councils Facebook page for five days in January. The campaign achieved 44 new likes however with the added increase of community posts through this week and the campaign it boosted our actual totals to: 

26th January (before Campaign) 205 Likes and 244 Followers 

1st February (after campaign) 285 Likes and 338 Followers  

31st March (current total) 395 Likes and 479 Followers  

The Assistant Clerk has also contacted 16 local groups/charities to offer them the opportunity to send the Paris Office updates/news and events. The majority have replied and accepted the offer. The Assistant Clerk has also emailed the Hurstpierpoint High Street shops to ask them if they would like to advertise their business (as a one off) on our Facebook Page. The reason behind this was to encourage the parish to shop locally and for the traders to see the Parish Council would like to support the High Street through what has been a very difficult year. We have had some good feedback regarding this, and posts are active on the Facebook page.  

The Chair would like recorded the Committee’s thanks to the Assistant Clerk for all her work on improving the Council’s communication with the Parish. 

CE20/21.044Information Items, Correspondence Received and Requests: 

The Chair informed the committee that the Community Engagement Annual report had been written and sent to the Clerk.  

Cllr Jee asked about the invitation that had been sent from the Village Society to discuss the trees that had died in Sayers Common. The Chair asked if he had met with the Estates & Facilities manager and he confirmed that he had and that the dead trees were caused by lack or irrigation not any problems with the soil. Cllr Jee asked about purchasing further replacement trees and the Chair requested for a grant application to be written and submitted to the committee so it could be discussed further.  

Cllr Griffiths asked if the parish office could check whether next year marks the five-year anniversary of taking on Hurst Meadows. Cllr Llewelyn confirmed this date would be in the management plan. Cllr Griffiths commented that if it was five years, our achievements should be celebrated.  

Meeting closed: 21:32pm