Agenda item

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.



The Leader made the following announcements:


The winter period was now upon us, many would be looking forward to Christmas and spending time with families and friends, but it was important to remember that the colder times would bring its own challenges for a number of Breckland residents.  The Leader took this opportunity to share with everyone just some of the ways this Council was helping Breckland residents at this time.


Warm homes

Firstly, as Breckland Council was a member of the Norfolk Warm Homes partnership, residents in the district could access a £3.8m funding pot to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes.


This included help with paying for wall and loft insulation as well as renewable air source heat pumps and more. This support was helping low-income households across Breckland – and Norfolk – to reduce their energy bills, as well as their carbon footprint.


He was pleased to inform Members that as a direct result of this Council’s campaign to raise awareness of such support, including writing directly to around 2,500 residents, believed to be eligible for such support, as well as including information about it in the latest Breckland residents’ magazine, a record number of applications had been received. Approximately, 75% of applications in November were directly as a result of the promotion.


Now that December was here, the partnership would no longer be taking applications for external wall insulation due to the temperature condition requirements for installation, but applications would continue to be accepted for other types of support.


The Leader urged all Members – and anybody watching at home – to check the details, eligibility criteria and support available at the



Daisy Programme support

The Christmas and New Year period could bring heightened anxiety for those experiencing domestic abuse and through the Council’s £1m Inspiring Communities programme, it continued to support some of Breckland’s most vulnerable residents.


Sadly, around 6,000 people in the district were estimated to be victims of domestic abuse each year but many cases went unreported. In the latest report from the Daisy Programme – the Council’s charity partner, which helped people recover from domestic abuse –thanks to funding and the partnership, in the last year the Daisy Programme had supported more than 1,000 Breckland residents and their families to be safe, achieve better well-being and move on with confidence.

The partnership had helped nearly 100 children and young people to achieve a better start to their lives and understanding had been increased and awareness of domestic abuse within Breckland communities, encouraging more people to come forward to access help.

This support was still growing, and the Daisy Programme had also trained more than 200 professionals in Breckland, including Breckland Council officers, to provide further support to people affected by domestic and sexual abuse.


Business support

December was a particularly important time for local businesses, and residents were encouraged to make the most of the fantastic independent traders up and down the district whilst doing their Christmas shopping. Every pound spent within locally owned shops was a pound circulating within the local economy and benefiting the local community.


To help highlight some of the wonderful shops in Breckland’s towns and villages, there was a competition running and people were invited to nominate the best, brightest and jolliest shop window in the district.


Those that nominated could win a hamper and would also help raise the profile of local shops by celebrating the very best window displays and customer service in Breckland. More details could be found on the Breckland website and on its social media page.


A new grant scheme was underway, to help breathe new life into the high streets and support them to thrive as 2023 drew nearer.


The ‘Meanwhile’ Grant Scheme aimed to provide fledgling businesses a ‘leg-up’ into current vacant shops by offering up to six months' free rent, support with set-up costs such as shelving and tills, and up to £10,000 in financial support to help them get established on Breckland’s high streets.


Districts deliver

Finally, a reminder that as a District Council, Breckland’s services would play a crucial role through the Christmas and New Year period.


Just like any other time of the year, the Licensing team would be out and about inspecting food premises to make sure they were safe and hygienic ahead of people’s Christmas meals out. Every year the team carried out more than 600 food safety inspections and these would continue to be carried out throughout December.


Breckland Council had worked hard to stamp out fly tipping in the district and officers would continue this campaign by keeping a presence in the community over the festive period and into the New Year. Fly tipping was perpetrated by a small minority of people, ruining the environment and the district for the rest of the population. The Leader made it absolutely clear – fly tipping would not be tolerated, it would be investigated, and perpetrators would be pursued, landing them with a big fine or even a day in court.


As for some of the Council’s more vulnerable residents, the housing team were on standby to help anybody who was homeless in the district, particularly if the weather turned colder. Through the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) during periods of particularly cold or wet weather, anybody sleeping rough would be offered access to emergency accommodation if they needed it. Councillors or members of the public could let the Council know about somebody needing assistance by getting in touch by calling the office or via


Breckland Council are here to support residents, and that support extended to animals too. The Council’s Animal Welfare officer carried out regular inspections of pet shops, animal breeders, kennels and catteries and even zoos to make sure the animals were being kept humanely and safely. A pet was for life, not just for Christmas – so if any residents watching this meeting were thinking of getting a new family pet this Christmas, the Leader urged them to make sure that they were able to provide a loving home in the long-term and only used reputable and licensed breeders and pet shops.


Refuse crews would be collecting all the rubbish after the festivities were over. In the UK more than 200,000 miles of wrapping paper was thrown away each year and obviously, as much as possible would be recycled. Advice about which Christmas items could be recycled was available on the Council’s website.  Not everything could be, for instance, laminated paper or paper covered with foil or glitter generally could not be recycled but if people were unsure the best way to check was to scrunch the paper into a ball and if it stayed scrunched, it could most probably be recycled, but if it sprung back, it definitely could not be due to the plastic coating.


Breckland Council remained on hand to support its residents through December and into 2023 and highlighted once again that district councils delivered.


Finally, the Leader closed his announcements by taking the opportunity to wish all Members and residents watching at home, a very Merry Christmas.