Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. It's the last weekend before December. Seagull Towers has already got its tree up, the organised among you will have got all your presents ready—but most of the rest of us will be doing so in the next few weeks. Remember to try and support local Brighton businesses—North Laine alone has enough places you can find a gift for anyone! Let's get going with the news.
News This Week
Labour councillor stands down after 52 years
Labour councillor for South Portslade, Les Hamilton, has announced he will be standing down as a councillor after 52 years of service.
He has stood down effective immediately, so since Wednesday 22nd November Councillor Alan Robins has been the sole councillor for South Portslade.
An anonymous source confirmed that he had been withdrawing from duties over the last couple of months.
Council leader Bella Sankey thanked Les for his 'contribution to civic life in our city', calling him a 'stalwart campaigner'.
In his career he has been a councillor, committee member and mayor, having served as a councillor under Portslade Urban District Council, Hove Borough Council and Brighton & Hove City Council.
He was part of the first Labour Administration on Hove Council in the 1990s, becoming mayor in 1996 (the year our editor was born!) And perhaps most excitingly, he has a Brighton & Hove bus named after him.
Councillor Hamilton said:
It has been a tremendous honour to be able to make a difference for local people. As residents in my ward will know, I am a staunch champion of Portslade, where I have lived for over 75 years.
Age has now caught up with me and tells me it’s time to slow down and give up being a councillor. I thank everyone who has voted for me and supported me.
I hope people will respect my privacy and give me space to deal with these changes after a lifetime of service to the city.
Brighton & Hove Labour Group thanked councillor Hamilton for his 'incredible service', calling his retirement 'well earned'.
The council’s Returning Officer will set a date for a by-election which is expected be in January.
Autism consultation results published
We told you back in May about an autism consultation launched by The Autism Partnership Board, as part of its plan to develop the Brighton & Hove Autism Strategy.
The board, which is led by autistic people and supported by the NHS, police, Brighton & Hove City Council and community groups, has used responses to the consultation to develop six key themes to help shape the strategy.
The report has now been published, and from it the six key themes identified are:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Neurodevelopmental assessment and support
- Social Care
- Relationships, feeling safe and part of the community
The priority areas for those responding were physical health, neurodevelopmental assessment and support, and mental health, with the latter considered a key priority by 93.4% of respondents.
Other issues highlighted by respondents include:
- A lack of understanding and implementation of autistic adults’ legal right for reasonable adjustments to be made in order to access health and social care services in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
- Minimal and outdated professional understanding of autism and reports of professional gaslighting when autistic people and unpaid carers shared their experiences.
- Autistic adults regularly being passed between different health and social care teams as one survey respondent stated: “due to being the wrong type of disabled to fit current systems”.
Working groups were established on the key themes identified and autistic adults, people who support them, and staff working in relevant areas attended.
Based on those groups, several actions and outcomes have been identified, including the creation of an integrated health and social care team to support autistic people whose needs cannot be met currently, making sure staff have the knowledge and skills to work with autistic people, and inclusive adjustments being made to help autistic people access mainstream services.
Going forward, The Brighton and Hove Adult Autism Partnership Board and associated working groups will focus on prioritising, monitoring and evaluating the outcomes and actions and progress of the strategy.
Councillor Tristram Burden, chairman of the council's adult social care and public health sub-committee, said:
I'm immensely proud to live in a city with an active and engaged Autism Partnership Board that we can work in partnership with, and this strategy is a testament to the strength of that relationship.
Over the next 5 years, whether feeling safe and empowered when out and about in their communities, or accessing mental and physical health support from the NHS for themselves or their carers, the Autism Strategy is the start of a new era for autistic people living in Brighton & Hove, and should serve as a national benchmark of how to create and deliver a strategy in close collaboration with the people who need it most.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- A Brightonian and a Brighton charity have been shortlisted at the Gaydio Pride Awards 2024! Phil Gale, ambassador at The Sussex Beacon, has been shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year, and Lunch Positive, the charity providing a welcoming, supportive and peer-led HIV community space in central Brighton has been shortlisted for Enterprise Award. Best of luck to them both!
- RadioReverb is looking for community groups and charities to nominate themselves as their Charity of the Year. Find out more, including details on how to apply, here.
- Strike Map, an industrial-action support organisation, raised over £235 at a fundraiser for UCU educators a couple of weeks ago. Solidarity!
- More train strikes are coming up next month: Gatwick Express, Southeastern and Southern are striking on Wednesday 6th December, Great Western Railway drivers are set to strike on Thursday 7th December, and ASLEF members are set to adhere to an overtime ban from Friday 1st December to Saturday 9th December.
Dog of the Week
We have an apology to make here at Seagull HQ: we've known of Biscuit for more than a year, and have been keeping him to ourselves because frankly, he's the cutest dog we've ever seen in our lives. And we've seen a lot of dogs.
Longhaired English Cream miniature-dachshund Biscuit is a blended-family dog, with two dads, one mum, and an elder human brother. His owner, Marina, said:
When not working as a Moral Support Sausage on location with his film-crew-member mum, Biscuit typically divides his time between Brighton and Worthing.
His specialist skills are Extreme Cuddling, Competitive Napping, Popcorn Stealing, Sausage Side-Eye and Tragic Resting Face.
He is also a weapons-grade fluffy hot water bottle whose paws emit a powerful aroma of toasted HobNobs after nestling under a blanket.
He's perfect and we love him with all our hearts.
The Big One
Community Base fundraiser for broken window repair
What's happening? One of the large windows at the front of Community Base has been shattered, and they're fundraising for a replacement.
Oh no! The building, which is home to more than 40 local charities and community groups, say this has left them 'not only with a security concern but also with a financial burden that we were not expecting so close to Christmas'.
A spokesperson for Community Base said:
Community Base has always thrived on the support and resilience of the incredible individuals who make up our community. Together, we can overcome this setback and continue to be a beacon of hope and assistance for those who rely on us.
What can I do to help? The Seagull is hoping to do its bit to help Community Base reach its goal of £1,000. If you're able to, please donate. If you can't, then please share the fundraiser.