Matters especially brought forward by the Mayor and the Leader.
(i) Solent University Journalist Students
Councillors noted that there were a number of 1st and 2nd Year Journalist Students from Solent University who had joined the meeting via the live link. Councillors noted that students studying this course had been welcomed into the Public Gallery on numerous occasions previously as part of their studies and were welcomed to today’s virtual meeting.
(ii) MOD Gold Award Armed Forces Covenant
Councillors, It gives me great pleasure to share with you that Southampton City Council was announced amongst the most supportive organisations for Britain’s Armed Forces, by receiving The Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, the highest award achievable for an organisation.
To win a Gold Award, organisations must demonstrate that they provide extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for Veterans, Reserves, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Spouses and Partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.
They also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and to engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.
I would like to invite Cllr McEwing to say a few words as our Armed Forces Champion.
(iii) Memorial Commemorations
2020 has seen several anniversaries connected with past conflicts, we have remembered those who have laid down their lives for the freedoms we cherish at our Cenotaph. May the memory of their sacrifice and bravery remain with us always.
Families are also impacted by conflict, this year marked 80 years since the bombing of the Art Gallery where 14 school girls died. The anniversary sadly at the beginning of this lockdown, but a Town Sergeant laid a wreath at the memorial art work.
We also remember all through the year the contribution of surviving veterans from all conflicts and service.
October marked the arrival of the SS Corfu the first of 28 ships to return 22,000 Far East Prisoners of War and Civilian internees.
This morning I laid a wreath at the Repatriation Memorial in Town Quay Park where on this day in 1945 both the Queen Mary and Principessa Giovanna docked in Southampton.
I also laid a wreath on behalf of a surviving veteran Bob Hucklesby who arrived on the Principessa Giovanna 75 years ago today.
These commemorative anniversaries have been marked by myself and the Sheriff and I would like to record our thanks to members of the Communications Team, Craig Lintott, Clare Blay and especially Rachel Griffin, who have recorded the events for social media and other forms of publicity to enable people to feel included.
(iv) Mayors Charities
All charities are finding it difficult to raise funds this year. As we’re not in the Council Chamber there’s no penalty infringements caused by mobile phones benefitting the Mayoral charity. I am particularly grateful to Councillors Keogh, Payne and Savage who set off on their bicycles for my two charities No Limits and the Southampton Children’s Play Association.
Councillor Keogh would you like to update Council?
(v) Last Meeting 2020/Carol Service
Councillors, our next Full Council meeting is the Budget Council Tax setting on 24th February 2021, this is therefore the last Council Meeting of 2020:-
With the situation we find ourselves in I will not be hosting a carol service or mince pie devouring get together this year. Whatever transpires from the impact of the Coronavirus I hope that Members and Officers are able to enjoy the festive period. I thank all those who have been working to keep Southampton safe especially those who have assisted our residents in need this year. We all look forward to a safer 2021.