However difficult the past 12 months or so have been, hopefully we can take some positive learnings forward.
As much as we all missed being together during the various different lockdowns, I know that for many, being able to attend meetings virtually – once we all go to used to the technology, no mean feat – has meant less time driving in our cars and more time at home with our families.
At Mendip we have now fully embraced hybrid meetings, meaning official council meetings are now happening both in person and remotely too, allowing for members of the press and public to be able to watch and listen from afar.
During these past months virtual meetings have allowed more councillors to attend more meetings, without having the extra drive prior to and after the meeting. For those who work or who have children and other caring commitments, this has been invaluable.
I am proud that the liberal democrat administration at Mendip is more representative now than ever before. We have a good gender and age balance, as well as councillors who are LGBTQ+.
But it’s more than just box ticking and tokenism. It’s understanding true intersectionality and openness in how diverse and inclusive we are, also amongst the staff at Mendip. This balance and fair representation is vital if we are to make sure we consider everyone’s needs, ensuring no one is left behind.
With this is mind, I am also proud that at Mendip we will be celebrating Pride Day, this Saturday 28th June. We will come together, within safe government guidelines, and raise the Pride rainbow flag because it’s important to us. You are important to us. We do not discriminate.
There are a number of support groups working across Mendip to offer help and guidance to the LGBTQ+ community, you can find out more on our website: www.mendip.gov.uk/lgbtqplus.
Unfortunately, as of 7th May official local government meetings now have to be held in person, even if they can be live-streamed at the same time. For me, and for many councillors, this is a missed opportunity and could have been a real positive takeaway from the global pandemic.
Do get in touch if you have a problem or any questions. I read and respond to all my correspondence. Contact me either on my email [email protected], or my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].