On Tuesday, it was a pleasure to attend the official reopening of Ross House, alongside my ward colleague Gary Fuller, Cabinet member for Housing Rebecca Shoob and Leader Jim Martin.
We were shown the externally clad block which makes the building massively more thermally eficient, plus the heat pumps and solar panels which support the heat and power needs of each flat.
We're told the block is "Carbon Zero Ready" - essentially they would be zero carbon if the electric that the block does draw from the grid could be guaranteed as 1100% renewable, which as each tenant deals directly with their power supplier, it can't.
It was also great to be shown a couple of the flats inside by their tenants, and for them to explain what they thought of them - and they liked them. Warm (OK - its summer, we'll only "know" in winter!), comfortable, and now looking and feeling much better built and finished than in the past. A real step forward, and great to see.
Now we just need to bring the rest of our 3,500-ish Council properites up to the same standard. That will be a huge challenge, both financially and physically over coming years, but this gives us useful lessons on where to start, and the hosuing team are pushing on.
On Tuesday I sat in on the Welfare & Benefits Volunteer Sector Briefing: a quarterly opportunity for the Welfare and Benefits team to both brief any volunteer and support orgainsations that want to attend what help they are offering currently and of any new iniatives, and to hear back from those organisations what they are offering so they can signpost back. The minutes are as below, and organisations that would like to attend future briefings are really welcome to do so.
It was also good to get feedback on the "Sandgate Parish Project": This was essentially the result of a bid by Sandgate Parish Council for funds from the County Council for Towns and Parishs to target people that needed support in their area. We won the bid for £1,500 and worked with the welfare team to support households in the area - 15 households got extra support, and that's also opened the door to additional support being identified for some of those households through other schemes.
And on Wednesday I attended the F&HDC Summer Social on East Cliff. This was both fun (and we got ice-cream!) and oddly timely.
The next meeting of the Folkestone Parks and Gardens Charity is going to consider, and I'm pretty sure will close the book, on proposals for a wide scale redevelopment of the facilities there. There was no consensus to do so in a public consultation, and no money to bring plans forward either. It's time to reassure local residents that we have listened, can this plan, and say so.