(a) LED Lighting Replacement Scheme
In relation to the LED Lighting Replacement Scheme, the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration was requested to ensure that the lights would service the community properly and any necessary adjustments needed would be made. The Deputy Mayor responded that the LED lighting was mainly for highways and not for street lighting. However, it was confirmed that the lights could be adjusted to ensure a satisfactory spread of light. Another Member asked whether there were any plans to introduce the LED lights in the Kader Ward. The Deputy Mayor undertook to check whether there were any plans to introduce LED lighting for Kader Ward and respond in writing.
(b) Teesside Pension Fund
A Member referred to recent reports in the press in relation to Durham Tees Valley Airport withdrawing its membership of the Teesside Pension Fund. The Member asked for clarification as to the financial effect of this action on both Middlesbrough Council and the Pension Fund itself. The Executive Member for Finance and Governance clarified that Middlesbrough Council, along with the other Tees Valley Councils, had agreed to make a contribution to underwrite the total shortfall in the Pension Fund of approximately £300,000. The estimated contribution from Middlesbrough Council was approximately £40,000. The Executive Member agreed to provide the finalised amount in due course.
(c) European Funding
Reference was made to the recent Association of North East Councils (ANEC) and Ruhr Regional Foundation (RVR) Creative exChange that had taken place. It was highlighted that if the United Kingdom was to leave the European Union, there would be a significant negative impact on attracting European funding for such cultural initiatives, as well as employment and investment. The Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport commented that the issue of European funding had been discussed several times during the exchange and it was hoped to work together to tap into various funding streams. The Executive Member agreed that culture, manufacturing, training, skills and employment in the north east had all received vital investment through the European community.
(d) Middlesbrough Hidden Women Trail
It was highlighted that this years Discover Middlesbrough Festival, taking place during October 2015, included a Middlesbrough Hidden Women Trail, charting the progress of inspirational women such as Middlesbroughs first (and current, only), woman MP, Ellen Wilkinson. The Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport commented on the importance of learning about the local steel industry, Linthorpe pottery, and pioneering men and women and promote the towns history to a wider audience.
(e) MIMAs Localism Exhibition
A Member drew attention to the Localism exhibition currently being held at Mima and congratulated the organisers. The exhibition told the story of art in Middlesbrough from 1829 to the present day and celebrated local artists and art industries. The Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport urged everyone to visit the exhibition and learn more about the towns heritage.
(f) BME Awards
A Member was delighted to inform Council that the Middlesbrough MELA had won an award at the recent BME Awards Ceremony. The Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport commented that this clearly demonstrated the cohesive community in Middlesbrough and the excellent work going on in the town.
(g) Summer Reading Challenge
A Member commented on the Summer Reading Challenge campaign to encourage children to read for pleasure during the summer holidays. This year, 975 children signed up for the challenge, with 433 reading between 4 and 6 books. The Executive Member for Communities and Public Health responded and stated that the Executive Member for Education and Skills had also been involved in this excellent project. The Executive Member stated that Literacy and Numeracy were the cornerstones of a good education. It was highlighted that 25% of children joining the scheme were pupils at Thorntree Primary and the Executive Member paid tribute to the pupils, staff and governors for having the highest percentage of joiners.
(h) North Ormesby Market
A Member referred to the Environment Scrutiny Panels report to Executive in relation to North Ormesby Market and a proposal to contact North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Trust (NONDET), with a view to starting a teenage market to encourage young people to sell their goods. The Executive Member for Communities and Public Health confirmed that the Panels proposals had been raised with NONDET, however he was not aware as to what progress had been made to date.
(i) Waste Policy Update
A Member congratulated the Council in relation to the kerbside recycling contract being back in-house from 6 October 2015. It was hoped that any problems experienced by residents in relation to recycling would be dealt with quickly. The Executive Member for Environment confirmed that the TUPE process had been completed with 19 employees transferring back to the Council.