Simply champion: Cambridgeshire's 'famous five' explain what they've done to merit their extra £5,000 a year
PUBLISHED: 16:25 27 October 2017
They're paid an extra £5,000 a year and their appointments have been heavily criticised by opposition councillors,
They’re paid an extra £5,000 a year and their appointments have been heavily criticised by opposition councillors,
But yesterday it was all smiles as they stepped into the spotlight to produce their first reports.
Cambridgeshire County Council community champions – there’s five of them – will report regularly on progress even though one has already quit because of pressure of his other work.
At the community and partnership meeting (October 26) some of the newly appointed champions fed back on the range of work they’ve been involved with since they were appointed two months ago.
In Fenland Councillor Steve Tierney explained how he has been working to contact each town and parish council in the district and had held discussions about issues to do with rural homelessness.
He also said he had been working with volunteering organisations and setting up a conversational Lithuanian class for English speakers to build better links with Lithuanian residents who now make up around 10 per cent of the population
“This isn’t aiming to get people to be fluent but so that they can have a chat and break down barriers,” he said. “If it works I want to roll it out to cover other languages.”
In East Cambs Councillor Lis Every said she had started work on a database of parish councillors willing to act as community ambassadors and had delivered two school assemblies on the subject of diversity.
She said she had supported work in schools across her district for Faith Week and had worked with Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, to deliver a hate crime and vulnerability forum for both Littleport and Ely.
The five champions also include Councillor Adele Costello for Huntingdonshire as a replacement for Councillor David Wells who stood down because of work commitments.
On Facebook Councillor Susan Van de Ven, Lib Dem, said that “no light is shed on why area champions are actually needed - or why they need to be paid a handsome sum from the public purse.
“Never mind that we’re in a crisis state of austerity.
“I also received an informal response from the chairman of the new committee who created the area champion roles, alluding to his personal need for greater remuneration to justify his work load.
“He now receives £18,372 per year, just to chair the committee on which the five champions sit; each paid a special allowance of £5,000. The vice chairman is paid £7,927. This is now the council’s most costly committee, and the value it brings to delivering public services to Cambridgeshire residents is, well, not clear.
“This is a council looking inward, not at the people outside.”