Building on the evolving partnership between the community sector and Barnet Council will be crucial to tackling inequality and ensuring the Borough can meet the challenges of the pandemic and any future waves. This was the main issue raised by Labour councillors during a briefing session for members of the Community Leadership & Libraries Committee last week (25 June).
The briefing session was requested by Labour’s spokesperson for Communities, Cllr Sara Conway, after the Council decided not to hold any meetings of the Committee until September.
During the session Labour councillors raised:
– thanking all Council officers, the Barnet Together partnership, all charities and community groups, local mutual aid groups and residents supporting each other,
– continuation of Council support for the Barnet Together infrastructure partnership for the sector,
– tackling existing inequalities revealed by the pandemic including poverty, the impact on BAME communities and the digital divide,
– the wider value of pop-up food banks as essential places for community support and connection,
– the Council retaining an appropriate role in the supply of essential food and other basic supplies,
– a framework for sustaining volunteering,
– ensuring school food vouchers continue over the summer with a back-up plan in case of problems with the website,
– ensuring the Government honours its commitment to cover all the Council’s costs to tackle the pandemic,
Labour spokesperson for Communities, Cllr Sara Conway said:
“I would like to thank Council officers, Barnet Together and all community and mutual aid groups for their amazing work during the pandemic.
“We have been working in a spirit of constructive opposition, and we welcome the Council’s response to our questions during the meeting with a focus on co-production with the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS). This will need careful planning and investment for the future.
“A huge amount of work has taken place in a very short space of time to build a real partnership between the Council and community sector to tackle the pandemic.
“It’s a great foundation for enhanced partnership going forward, and something the community sector has been wanting for a long time, so we will help ensure it is supported going forward.
“I called for this briefing because of the key role the VCFS have been playing in the Covid-19 response and recovery. It really couldn’t wait until September for an actual Committee meeting to scrutinise what the Council had been doing and ensure things were being put in place to support this crucial work going forward.
“This may involve other council decision-making processes and budget considerations, but I believe that this Committee should have a further discussion session before September to provide scrutiny and consideration of key issues that are time sensitive.”
For more information contact: