Agenda item


To receive a statement from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.


The Leader opened his statement by welcoming everyone back to the first meeting of Council to be held in the Council Chamber since March 2020, noting how good it was to be back.


The Leader referred to the conflict in the Ukraine and how the conflict was a fight for democracy and for democratic processes. The Leader stated that despite the differences of opinion that would be expressed in today’s meeting, the meeting showed the value and importance of democratic processes. The Leader noted how everyone’s thoughts would be with the people of the Ukraine. 


The Leader advised that whilst the remaining legal requirements regarding Covid-19 had come to an end, that it was important to remember that Covid-19 had not gone away, and that although case numbers were continuing to decrease that everyone should still do everything possible to mitigate any risk of infection going forward.


The Leader noted his congratulations to Councillor Brookes and her husband Chris on their recent wedding and extended his, and the meeting’s best wishes to them. The Leader also noted his congratulations to Councillors Adam and Charlotte Carter whose baby son had been born just a few days previously.


The Leader advised that over the coming weeks that there were lots of great events happening across the Borough including:


·        From the beginning of February to 8th March, a further 6 libraries would have been re-launched following refurbishments of the buildings and their facilities. This was part of the Borough-wide libraries £1.8m capital investment programme that had seen a packed programme of activities for both adults and younger residents.


·        Earlier in March the first home had been completed in the Council’s ambitious £30m+ development of more than 170 homes across 3 key Town Centre sites.  The project had been partly funded by Homes England and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and had seen over £200,000 of added social value including work with local schools and colleges and support to local charities. The Leader noted that this was a really exciting project and that it was a first glimpse of a future Rotherham that would help bring to life the vision that the Council had for a thriving town centre of the future.


·        The launch of the Rotherham Children’s Capital of Culture programme. The Leader noted that the Town Centre had been transformed into a playground with a skate and arts festival, demonstrations by Team GB skaters and BMX pros, and a robot selfie. The Leader noted that these events had been delivered by part of the £1.4m funding that had been received through the UK Community Renewal Fund.


Councillor Bennett-Sylvester expressed his support for the people of the Ukraine and advised how former Rotherham Titans player and BBC reporter James Waterhouse should be in everyone’s thoughts whilst he was doing important work in keeping everyone informed on what was happening in the conflict. Councillor Bennett-Sylvester stated how he hoped that James would be home and safe very soon. 


Councillor Tinsley advised that he was supporting an appeal that would be taking items via Poland to support people in the Ukraine who were being impacted by the conflict there and asked whether the Council would support this appeal. In response the Leader stated that the Council was advising that the best way for residents of the Borough to support to the people of the Ukraine was in the form of financial donations to recognised charities. The Leader also advised that the Council would be looking at what other options for supporting the people of the Ukraine may be available.