The following motion submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 9 of the Meeting Procedure Rules has been proposed by Councillor Lesley Dedman and seconded by Councillor Mike Cox:-
is deeply disturbed by the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,
which has caused horrific devastation, and created an escalating
humanitarian crisis with millions displaced or
affected. In light of
this, and as a way of expressing
support for the people of Ukraine and members of our communities
who are from or who have ties with Ukraine this Council;
a. Condemns the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their families and friends, including those local to BCP.
b. Stands ready to provide support and open our arms to innocent people displaced and affected by this unprovoked Russian aggression.
c. Will work with and support the efforts of our local communities to provide help, support and comfort to those in need.
d. Will evaluate the potential use of Council owned assets, including the Christchurch and Poole civic centres, to be emergency accommodation and/or relief collection points if practicable.
e. Will continue to fly the Ukrainian flag until the invasion ceases, acknowledging the provisions of the Council’s Flag Flying Policy.
Set out on the agenda was a motion proposed by Councillor Lesley Dedman and seconded by Councillor Mike Cox relating to support for the Ukrainians as a result of the unprovoked aggression against them.
Councillor Dedman reported that whilst she had hoped that the motion would have become redundant, war still continued. She explained that the motion was designed not only to state the Council’s feelings at this time for the effect it has on the innocent in Ukraine but the dangers which were evident to Europe from Russia’s aggression. Councillor Dedman explained that as well as signifying concern at the actions of the Russian Government we were determined as a Council to help practically. She emphasised that the Council was welcoming the Ukrainians who have come for help and sucker whilst acknowledging that the Officers and Portfolio Holders were working hard to help them settle in our communities. Members were advised of the proposal to make use of vacant Council buildings and the arrangements for flying the Ukrainian flag. Councillor Dedman referred to the support that she had received from Councillor Stribley in preparing the motion. Councillor Cox in seconding the motion reserved his right to speak.
Councillor Mellor reported that the administration fully supports the emphasis of the motion. He explained that right at the start of the conflict BCP was one of the first Council’s to sign up to the declaration of support of Ukraine and he was proud of the work of Portfolio Holders and officers to stand up the Council’s response as quickly as possible. Councillor Rampton in supporting the motion referred to the response that she had given to a public question on the Council’s response and work with partners to help Ukrainians. She advised Members that there were125 adults and 55 children in the BCP area through the homes for Ukraine. In addition, there were 1444 additional households who were interested in sponsoring a Ukrainian family. Members were advised that the Council had a welcome pack for guests which was in three different languages and had been distributed. There were also weekly operational multi-agency meetings with a strategic multi-agency meeting on a fortnightly basis from which Councillor Rampton received regular updates. Councillor Moore reported that there was a strong connection between Canford Heath families and families from Chernobyl as they were involved in the Chernobyl lifeline project for a number of years. She explained that we all want to do something to help families from Ukraine and several Councillors have been personally involved in fundraising across Poole and more fund raising was planned. Councillor Slade referred to the flying of the Ukrainian flag at the Civic Centre. She highlighted that the Ukrainian flag was put up in all shops in Broadstone at the start of the crisis. She referred to the concerns that she had been advised of relating to the lack of ability to find school places for Ukrainian children with families who were spending significant amounts of their own money to help settle families who were now not able to put them in school because there was nowhere that was within a reasonable distance. Councillor Slade asked the Portfolio holder responsible to do as much as possible to work with schools to create those spaces. The Chairman reported that the Ukrainian Flag had been flying every day but today the BCP Flag was put up for full Council. Councillor Farquhar sought further clarification on the flying of the Corporate Flag rather than the Ukrainian Flag and suggested that the Ukrainian flag should be flown rather than the BCP flag. The Head of Democratic Services reported on the provisions within the Council’s Flag Flying Policy. Councillor Cox suggested that more could be done in particular the difference between the support offered by residents and the actual number of families who had arrived, and that part of that issue was bureaucracy. Councillor Butler whilst supporting the humanitarian aid questioned the wording of the motion and the use of the word unprovoked. Councillor Nicola Greene added her support for the motion including the words unprovoked aggression which was unqualified. She reported that in the terms of school places it was an ongoing discussion and requested that if any Members were aware of issues to email her and she would take them up with the admissions team. Councillor Hadley highlighted the great support from the BCP residents to make a difference for people in Ukraine. Councillor Filer reported that the disproportionate amount of aggression in Ukraine against innocent people and children was not in doubt and she was proud of the efforts of the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in all that they had offered. Councillors expressed their concern and disassociated themselves from the comments made by Councillor Butler.
Councillor Dedman in summing up welcomed the cross-party support for the motion and that the residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were open hearted towards those in trouble had welcomed Ukrainian families into their communities, and she was proud of their response and the Council’s response.
The Council then voted on the motion as set out on the agenda which was carried unanimously.