The Lord Mayor welcomed all those present to the meeting.
By-election – Humberstone and Hamilton Ward
The Lord Mayor made reference to the recent by-election in the Humberstone and Hamilton ward, where Councillor Daniel Crewe was elected. The Lord Mayor formally welcomed Councillor Crewe to the Council. Council welcomed Councillor Crewe with a round of applause.
Citizens from Afghanistan
The Lord Mayor referred to the recent events in Afghanistan, and in particular the impact on its people. The Lord Mayor commented on the long tradition of Leicester being a welcoming place from people all over the world and had again done so by offering both temporary and permanent accommodation for Afghan citizens. Council teams, as well as voluntary, community and faith organisations were working hard to support those individuals and families currently in the city to make them feel welcomed and safe. The Lord Mayor expressed his pride that the city had offered sanctuary to those in need.
The Lord Mayor invited the City Mayor to make a statement regarding citizens from Afghanistan in Leicester.
The City Mayor reiterated the comments made by the Lord Mayor about Leicester welcoming people from all over the world. In terms of the current arrangements in the city, he noted that there was currently a ‘bridging hotel’, paid for by the Home Office which was hosting temporary residents until a more permanent solution was found. There had been no Home Office officials visiting the hotel, but the Department for Work and Pensions had provided some support. It was however noted that Council staff would now be providing a full support service through its STAR Amal team. The Home Office were funding this full service which meant that staff could begin to undertake needs assessments and co-ordinate the support offered from different groups. This new support would encompass faith and cultural services. Leicester had offered 10 permanent residency places for Afghan citizens which would receive 3 years of Home Office funding. The City Mayor was confident that the new residents would make a positive contribution to the city as had many others who had settled in the city over recent decades.
The Lord Mayor noted that he had attended the following events in recent months, where he was proud to represent the City and they showcased its diversity:
- Festival of Ganesh Chathurthi; this was a Hindu festival which lasted for 10 days and marked the birth of Lord Ganesh.
- A community thank you dinner for Islamic Relief UK to recognise the work of volunteers and supporting businesses.
- Pre-recording the opening ceremony of the Leicester Caribbean Carnival.
- Waving off children to Norfolk on behalf of Leicestershire Children’s Holidays charity who provide much needed holidays for deprived children.
- The opening of a new memorial stone at Victoria Park dedicated to far east prisoners of war.
- Attended the Local Royal Air Force Association annual battle of Britain service at St. James the Greater Church.
- Visited the new dog agility course, opened by the charity, Recovery Assistance Dogs, on land provided by the Council which is to the rear of Aylestone Leisure Centre.
- Attended Leicester Curry Awards 2020/21 held at the Athena in Leicester.
Fire and Emergency Evacuation Procedure
The Lord Mayor reminded all present of the evacuation procedures as detailed on the agenda for the meeting.