You can Vote

You Can Vote

Local Lib Dem Party Chair John Vincent welcomed the announcement that resident EU citizens will be able to vote and stand in the Thursday, 6 May 2021 local elections.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the 2020 Borough Council local election pushed back to 6 May this year. Taking place at the same time will be the 2021 Surrey County Council local election and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election.  To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote.

John Vincent said: “EU citizens who have chosen to make their home in the UK contribute a great deal. It’s more than appropriate that they are able to vote and stand in our local elections.”

An "EU citizen" is someone with citizenship of one of the EU Member States.

For more details follow the link below

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/which-elections-can-i-vote

 


Act now. Don’t lose your vote.

Act now. Don’t lose your vote.

Local elections in England are to go ahead as planned in May.  It’s going to be a bumper set of local elections this year. With the local elections postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic this will make May 6th a “Super Thursday.”  You will be able to elect local Borough and County councillors and a police commissioner for Surrey. 

Local voters who wish to vote at a local polling station will need to abide by new coronavirus safety rules.  That’s likely to mean you have to take your own pencil to mark their ballot paper.  If you prefer to vote by postal ballot please remember the deadline for application. 

In Reigate & Banstead, the deadline to apply for a postal vote for the elections in May is 5pm on Tuesday, 20 April 2021. You must also be registered to vote by midnight on Monday 19 April.

Find out how to apply: https://electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voting-person-post-or-proxy/voting-post

 


Make a difference in 2021

Make a difference in 2021: Become a Borough or County Councillor

Find out more at our “Ask the Experts” discussion: Monday January 11th at 8.00pm (Links to follow)

Are you passionate about helping your local community? Perhaps it is providing opportunities for young people, caring for the environment or supporting local businesses to thrive. Whatever it is Councillors make a huge difference to the quality of life of local people and you could be just the person to do it by becoming a Councillor.  

Reigate Liberal Democrats wants to identify interested and committed local residents who are prepared to stand in local elections, for the Surrey County Council and the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, whether you are already a member of the liberal democrats or not.  You don’t need specialist skills and any training is provided.

If you want to know more ask the experts! We are holding an online discussion where four of our current and past, County and Borough councillors will tell you what its really like and be available to answer all your questions. Monday January 11th at 8.00pm. We will send links nearer the time. If you are interested let us know by signing up here or email us on [email protected]

You may also want to look at the information provided on becoming a local councillor here: https://www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/info/20044/your_council/323/be_a_councillor and  here: https://www.local.gov.uk/be-councillor and for a County Councillor here  https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-and-committees/how-to-become-a-councillor

Being a councillor is both challenging and rewarding.  You can really make a difference,  so get involved.

Your Community needs you

 


Fighting the Phenomenal Cost of Early Childcare

Jemma with Pushchair

As of this week, I am a working mum. After a (mostly) wonderful 50 weeks of maternity leave, returning part time to my career in the NHS will ensure I grow my clinical expertise and upskill our workforce. I also want my son to learn and evolve under the dedicated professionals who look after children in early years settings.

That may sound reasonable enough. But being a working mum is a luxury. Why? Because the phenomenal cost of early years childcare means returning to work for many families simply doesn’t pay. The cost of my son’s provision is a snip under £1000 a month for 3 days per week of nursery. I’m lucky to be in a senior position in the NHS so, in my case, returning to work makes financial sense. But if I was a nurse or therapist earlier in my career, paying a student loan and pension contributions, my take-home wage would be £969 a month for a 3 day week, so less than the cost of nursery. This makes staying at home the more viable option, costing the NHS another skilled clinician.

If a nursery is signed up to the government’s tax-free childcare scheme, then there is the benefit of a 20% top-up from the government to help with costs. But that only applies up to a maximum of £500 every three months. If you’re a junior nurse, for example, that makes you less than £2000 a year better off, which is quickly absorbed by the cost of commuting and professional registration fees. There is some additional help from the age of 3 years for working families, but only for 30 hours a week (6 hours a day) and only during term time. After a three-year break, our junior nurse would have to update their training before they could return to practise.

The Liberal Democrats believe all children should have the right to quality, early years childcare provision, and all parents should be able to return to their careers. That’s why we are committed to funding 35 hours a week of high-quality early years provision for the children of all working parents from 9 months of age, and crediting providers with the true value of what it costs them to care for our infants. As for our public services retaining valuable workers.... well, that’s just a bonus!

 


Have your say in our new party leader

The party leadership election is well underway. Nominations have closed and the two candidates are Ed Davey and Layla Moran. Find out more about both here:

libdems.org.uk/ed-davey

libdems.org.uk/layla-moran

Or why not participate in one of the many hustings? All are being held entirely online and so are more accessible than ever. 

Three types of hustings are being held:

  • Regional Hustings focusing on local issues, party strategy and leadership;
  • Thematic Hustings focusing on key policy areas and;
  • Question & Answer Sessions hosted by specific interest groups.

You can find the schedule here:

libdems.org.uk/hustings

The list includes the South East regional hustings on 8 August 2020 at 11 am to 12:30 pm. To participate in this event RSVP here:

libdems.org.uk/south-east-hustings

Hustings videos are archived and can be replayed here:

libdems.org.uk/livestream

Voting on-line opens on 30 July and closes on 26 August. The winner will be announced on 27 August.


Is the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people being monitored adequately within schools?

As our young people face returning to school after lockdown, are we giving them the support they need?

Jemma de Vincenzo looks into this issue.

Imagine a meeting in school, worried that your child is in turmoil, only to be told that unless they’re at risk of harming themselves or others, they’ll wait a very long time to see a specialist. Sadly, in many parts of the country, this is commonplace. I know, because I’ve been the professional sat in that meeting.

There is no doubt that children and young people need earlier and quicker access to specialist mental health support. Currently, only 10% of all mental health funding is spent on young people, despite the fact that many long-term mental health disorders are established by age 14.

In 2017 the government recognised there was a crisis and set about its plans to tackle mental health through schools, with a target date of 2025. The plan involves training a mental health lead in each school to recognise early indications, and specialist support teams from the health service to respond. Yes, funding is provided to train those members of school staff, but funding will not be given to schools to finance this additional demand day to day.

Currently, the level of emotional support a young person receives in school is dependent on a school’s capacity to provide it. In an already pressurised financial climate, schools are expected not only to educate our young people, but provide wrap-around care, extra-curricular learning and manage medical needs. Whilst many teachers strive to provide all they can for young people, just how many strings can one add to a bow?

Our children and young people absolutely need improved and consistent monitoring of emotional well-being within our education system, but schools and the NHS need appropriate levels of funding to do it. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are committed to investing in mental health services for children and young people.


What Next for Reigate High Street?

The farce that played out in Reigate Town shows that you must take the community with you when making major changes. During the COVID-19 lock-down it was sad to see the ghost town like atmosphere. However, the pure delight at the fresh clean air and the quiet, calm of the place was wonderful. No noxious fumes or thunderous vibrations from heavy lorries. 

As a crossroads, Reigate’s traffic problems have been with us for generations. Now, the level of traffic far exceeds what the town can stand.  Unrelenting road traffic creates a toxic environment in the town centre.  Reigate has grown at the intersection of the main east-west road (A25) and the north-south road (A217). The town centre is best recognised by its Old Town Hall. This building is right at the heart of the congestion in the town. It’s interesting to note that until the 1970s, the A217 went through the Reigate Tunnel. 

However, since the time that Reigate became a large-scale roundabout, nothing has been done to address an escalating problem. Only the naive would think this is easy to fix. I’ll venture into that territory having lived in the town for nearly 30-years.

I believe, a phased approach is more likely to deliver results.   

Firstly, HGVs must be banned from the High Street, except when making local deliveries. 

Secondly, Castlefield Road and Bancroft Road needs to be two-way.  

Thirdly, open the Town Hall carpark in Castlefield Road to the public full-time.

Fourthly, build a dedicated cycleway from the Railway Station to Church Street via the Town Hall.   

To advise and monitor such proposals a representative Town Center Steering Group, that includes the town’s businesses and local cycling and walking groups needs to be in place. 

These are modest proposals that would take some traffic pressure away from the High Street. Once that is achieved the proposal for a cycle way through the town centre should be viable.

Yes, the second part demands resources but this is for a long-term investment. A new junction by the entrance to Reigate College (South side) would be needed. A roundabout where the A217 meets the A25 would need careful planning.  

 

Part of this proposal is not new, but it has been sitting on the books for a long time:

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/164030/2018-April-SCC-Major-Road-and-Rail-Schemes.pdf

 

Reigate Relief Road Reigate Surrey County Council Proposal to introduce a dual carriageway along the A25 in Reigate between London Road/Castlefield Road and Castlefield Road/Church Street junctions. Includes alterations to Bancroft Road, Bell Street and Church Street to create a clockwise gyratory system. The line of the Relief Road is safeguarded in the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Local Plan 2005.


Changes to Cycling in Reigate and Banstead borough

A summary of some proposed bicycle-related travel measures that are being considered by Surrey County Highways and may be coming to Reigate & Banstead shortly.

 One of the effects of the current crisis has been an increase in Cycling. With this in mind Surrey County Highways are considering a number of changes. Our Liberal Democrat Councillor - Steve Kulka is working with the rest of the council and community groups to develop these changes. 

As part of this first phase pilot:

Reigate - 20mph speed limit for Church Street, Bancroft Rd, Bell Street and High Street, temp cycle lane High Street.  Waymarking of off-road routes through Priory Park plus cycle parking and waymarking routes to station from the town centre.

Redhill - let cycles use pedestrian area, additional cycle parking outside McDonald's.

Horley - provide cycle parking outside Post Office, improve pedestrian crossing facilities outside Lidl.

Banstead - wayfinding signs.

A25 Reigate Road, Reigate - install parking restrictions on the existing westbound cycle lane.

 

Draft visualisation of the proposed cycle facility in Reigate High Street, based on Google Streetview is shown here.

These are just some of the ideas that have been submitted and the Highways team hope to do more in the later phase.

If you have further ideas please do email [email protected] and put “Active Travel” in the heading. These ideas will be considered as part of the next phase of works.


Welcome to our new Website

Welcome to the new Reigate and Banstead Liberal Democrats Website!

We went live on June 1st  2020, but the site  is still a work in progress, so please bear with us if there are some glitches.

We have tried to keep some of the  original feel, but incorporate new features such as a simple donate button, the ability to pay for events through the site, easier emailing and a number of other features that will significantly enhance our online presence

We are very keen to hear your ideas on how we can develop our website and what you would like to see on it

You can let us know by commenting on this post or by email: [email protected]


Update on Covid 19 action

Reigate and Redhill Covid-19 Mutual Aid

Local Liberal Democrat members have been volunteering to support our local community. The following is an update from Peter Jones. He is usually to be found leading our Climate Change group but, in this crisis has been active in helping others in our community. 
As the coronavirus epidemic struck the UK in full force in March, Reigate and Redhill spontaneously mobilised, initially through posts on facebook, to form a Mutual Aid group.
Requests for mutual aid help can be registered online here: https://rrmutualaid.co.uk after which a local volunteer will get in touch and discuss what’s needed.
The group organised itself in the space of a few days by putting posters up inviting volunteers and providing an online volunteering form. Over the next couple of weeks, about 1200 willing volunteers  from Reigate and Redhill registered and were allocated to 7 areas: Reigate; Redhill, Earlswood & Whitebushes, St John’s & Meadvale, Woodhatch, South Park and Merstham. 
The volunteers then delivered 1000s of leaflets to most addresses in the seven areas during March and April, each one bearing phone contact information for local volunteers to help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, dog walking and friendly phone calls, plus a link to an online form where requests for assistance could be logged. The ward coordinators were then able to identify people able to be area and street volunteers, and localised WhatsApp groups were set up to put out the call for requests to be answered.
Local and borough-wide facebook groups also sprung up to support the effort and to provide information, including publicising shops, take-away and delivery services and links to information about domestic abuse and mental health support and crucially also food bank information, with a coordinated programme of school food bank drops rolling out throughout the borough.
The groups have since also encouraged and supported local food bank donation points and a map of these has been published for anyone who wants to donate goods. The food banks are also keen to accept cash donations to allow them to bulk purchase, as demand sadly steadily increases. The developing map of drop points can be found here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1ZrLc-TUANg0bX_AN_gsToPAc9GXTGsS8&ll=51.242875182209744%2C-0.17411904999994476&z=12&fbclid=IwAR3UQWSQYx6ALsn22OWXibunE4MjaHMVFgHTjqI_hsIHgAI3tN1yc4XDyNs
The food banks publish lists of items they need and also provide an opportunity for online donations:

The Food banks:

https://www.redhillfoodbank.org.uk/ - Mon, Wed, Friday 12noon-2pm at St Matthews Church 

https://www.loveworks.org.uk/ - Loveworks - collect by arrangement see website

Renewed Hope Trust - https://rhtes.org/ - Mon-Fri 9-5pm Shrewsbury Chapel, Shrewsbury Road

The Mutual Aid food bank donation post can be found here:
All this has run alongside informal local residents groups, local voluntary groups, council and state provision and is intended to fill in gaps and provide a friendly local face to anyone needing a hand. 
Support for neighbours is expected to be needed for months if not years to come, as we seem to be facing continuing pandemic risk. Unemployment is also expected to spike in Autumn and remain high, leading to many more people in the borough needing to use the services of the food banks, not to mention the unfortunate probability of more people with health issues needing to wait for treatment and to shield or isolate.
Thankfully there have been many more volunteers than requests for help, but the realisation is dawning that we’re in this for the long haul and this informal and friendly local support that the Mutual Aid group is likely to be around for quite some time yet. The group isn’t actively seeking volunteers at present, but if anyone knows someone who needs assistance at this difficult time, please feel free to encourage them to register online, or if they can’t do this themselves, there is an option to get in touch on behalf of others here: https://rrmutualaid.co.uk
The local facebook groups and lots more information can be found here:
Reigate & Redhill main
Earlswood & Whitebushes
Redhill
If you have a story of your own please share it with us (and let us know if we can put it on the website). You can do this by commenting on this post or send an email to [email protected]

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