Cardiff Council Update: 10th July

Welcome to the last update of the week from Cardiff Council, covering: taskforce to tackle discrimination and injustice faced by Cardiff's BAME communities; artist impression of revamped Castle Street revealed;No Going Back', a new vision for homelessness services; safety first as work to re-open Cardiff's children's play areas begins; and delivering 21st Century Schools Programme with support from Mutual Investment Model (MIM).


Taskforce to tackle discrimination and injustice faced by Cardiff's BAME communities

A taskforce designed to tackle race inequalities and race injustice in Cardiff could be set up this summer by Cardiff Council.

The taskforce was proposed by the Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, in response to the tragic death of George Floyd in the USA, and the campaign by the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK calling for greater justice and equality for Black Communities.

Cllr Thomas said: "There have been well-publicised calls in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement for a reassessment of how individuals in British history with involvement in slavery are commemorated. Specifically in Cardiff the debate has focused on the statue of Sir Thomas Picton in City Hall.

"I have publicly indicated my support for this call, and asked that the Council as a whole give a democratic mandate for the removal of this historic monument through a debate and decision by Full Council at the earliest possible opportunity.

"However, whilst gestures such as this are important, they cannot deflect us from the harder task of trying to address the challenges still experienced by Black communities today.

"Although Cardiff has a proud history of multiculturalism, and a tradition of celebrating diversity, this cannot be an excuse for complacency or inaction, and we must acknowledge that there are people of colour in this city today who must deal with racism as a feature of their everyday lives. It is important therefore in my view that we too reflect on how we can address the issues faced by Black communities in the city. This is why I am committed to setting up a task force to work with Black and BAME communities in Cardiff to establish what more the Council can do to support them. I am eager that this avoids just being a talking shop where the same discussions we've heard for decades are repeated. Rather, I want to hear from new voices, and focus on tactical issues where the Council can act quickly, and galvanise change in others, responding to the real needs of our communities."

The Leader of the Council has invited the local Butetown councillor, Saeed Ebrahim, to chair the Race Equality Taskforce, which could have up to 14 members plus the chair. A public appointment process will be undertaken to identify candidates for positions on the taskforce.

Cllr Ebrahim said: "We want to tackle and find solutions for the discrimination and disadvantages faced by the BAME community in Cardiff. The taskforce will need insightful individuals with an interest in race and human rights. We need people with the ability, experience, opportunity and influence to make real changes in their sector, industry or organisation.

"We will consult with the BAME community in August to gather their views on what the taskforce's priorities should be. This will help us shape the taskforce's agenda. I want us to produce regular reports to Cabinet complete with recommendations for action to be considered. I am eager to get started. I know this Cabinet wants to see real change and this taskforce is a way of ensuring the voice of the BAME community is heard when new policies are being drafted."

The Council has also identified initial areas it proposes to be considered by the taskforce, including:

  • Finding out what more can be done to ensure the council's membership and workforce represents the full diversity of the city it serves;
  • Supporting BAME communities to access employment opportunities;
  • Working closely with Welsh Government on an audit of statues, street and building names to address Wales' connections with the slave trade.

On Thursday, July 16, Cabinet will receive a report recommending the setting up of the taskforce. Once agreed work will begin on recruiting members and on consulting with the BAME community on taskforce priorities.

The taskforce will provide an annual report to Full Council, in line with the reporting schedule for the Council's statutory Equalities Annual Report, as well as reports to Cabinet throughout the year with recommendations for action in prioritised areas.


Artist impression of revamped Castle Street revealed

An artist impression showing the new, outdoor, covered, eating area planned for Cardiff's Castle Street has been released by Cardiff Council.

The scheme is part of a wider range of measures being put in place in the city centre to increase useable, outdoor space for the hospitality sector which is trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic. The new hospitality area will allow businesses to trade safely insocially-distanced outdoor settings. Visitors will be able to order food and drinks for delivery from a selection of restaurants and cafes in the city centre via an app.

Work on asphalting Cardiff Street has already taken place and it is hoped the new outdoor area could be available to use by the end of the month.

The new outdoor space will be built directly on Castle Street, giving visitors a stunning view of the iconic castle in the heart of the city centre. More details on how the space will be run will be released closer to the opening date.


No Going Back: New vision for homelessness services

A vision for future homelessness services in Cardiff that sets out a new pathway for accommodation and support services in the city has been unveiled.

The Council's new model is very much in line with Welsh Government direction on homeless services and seeks to build on the significant progress already made supporting people off the streets. The proposals aim to improve services to better meet clients' needs and build on the swift response to the Coronavirus pandemic in a ‘No Going Back' approach to supporting vulnerable individuals.

Key components of the new vision include a new 24-hour assessment centre, bringing homeless and health services together on site, and more specialist accommodation, to ensure individuals have good quality, supported provision to help get their lives back on track.

A new approach to delivering services for homeless families who are homeless is also set out in a report to be considered by Cabinet on Thursday, July 16.

Cabinet will hear about the progress made by services during the COVID-19 crisis, the rapid measures put in place to safely accommodate vulnerable clients and the steps already taken to secure additional permanent accommodation as part of the Council's longer term plans for tackling homelessness.

A new assessment centre, where a client's needs will be properly understood and an appropriate solution developed, with on-site emergency accommodation is a focal point of the new vision. The centre will become a co-ordination point for the city's multi-disciplinary complex needs services including street and hostel outreach and will provide referrals for clients to be rehoused into good quality, self-contained accommodation in a supported setting, depending on the level of their needs.

Plans for better accommodation are outlined in the report. Plans are set out to refocus an existing facility in Adamsdown, which currently provides temporary accommodation for homeless families, to develop an integrated facility of around 103 self-contained units with intensive support, such as on-site health and therapeutic services. Additional flats will be available as part of the scheme for longer term more settled accommodation.

This is in addition to extra accommodation already sourced in the city in Llanrumney, and a 42-unit student housing block on Newport Road to meet increased demand.

Rapid rehousing and Housing First are also an important part of the vision for future homelessness services in Cardiff, ensuring that homeless people can move into permanent accommodation as soon as possible. 

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Safety first as work to re-open Cardiff's Children's Play Areas begins

Work has begun to ensure that children's play areas and outdoor fitness equipment in Cardiff's parks are safe to use, following the Welsh Government announcement that they can now re-open to the public.

Cardiff has more than 100 play areas and nine outdoor fitness areas and safety inspections will need to be carried out at each site before they can be re-opened to the public.

To ensure that all areas of Cardiff have some outdoor children's play provision available to use as quickly as possible, these inspections and any necessary work to reinstate or repair equipment will be carried out on phased basis over the coming weeks and months.

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Delivering 21stCentury Schools Programme with support from Mutual Investment Model (MIM)

Cardiff Council's Cabinet will be updated on progress made in relation to the Mutual Investment Model (MIM) to support the delivery of Cardiff's Band B 21st Century Schools Programme, when it meets on Thursday 16, July.

MIM is anational scheme that has been developedby Welsh Governmentto borrow funds via the private sector, to design and build schools and to maintain the fabric of the buildings over a 25 year period.

The Council has agreed to a 10 yearStrategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) with a joint venture ofWelsh Government and private sector partner Meridiam Investments II SAS,to deliver future schools, including in principleWillows High School and Cathays High School.

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