The Head of Health and Community Wellbeing presented the above report, previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to advise Members that Derry City and Strabane District Council had successfully completed Phase VI (2014-2018) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network and to seek Members’ approval for Derry City and Strabane District Council to submit an expression of interest in becoming a Phase VII (2019-2014) Healthy City Network member at an annual contribution of $6,000 (US Dollars).
Councillor Gallagher stated that he wished to raise the matter of the Affordable Warmth Scheme as it was pertinent to health and wellbeing. He asked for an update regarding withdrawal of funding for the scheme as it would have a major impact on people in the city and district already suffering from fuel poverty.
The Head of Health and Community Wellbeing stated that it was his understanding that the Department for Communities (DfC) was committed to fund the Affordable Warmth Scheme for the next financial year. He stated that the Department had a draft five year plan but have been unable to proceed with it at this stage. He outlined that Council was working closely with both DfC and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to ensure that Council make the maximum permitted number of referrals to the NIHE. He noted that it was agreed that the Health and Community Committee would set up a working group and it was his understanding that an invitation for a meeting had been sent out. He stated that DfC had carried out a consultation process on the Affordable Warmth Scheme and once the results had been produced from that consultation a meeting would be arranged to consider how the scheme is operating within the Council area.
In response to a query by Alderman Hussey, the Head of Community Health and Wellbeing stated that the only change made was an additional 5000 properties being identified, therefore the postcodes would have changed accordingly. He further stated that there had been difficulty regarding the backlog of assessed properties as there were already sufficient assessments undertaken for submission to the NIHE before commencing assessment of the additional 5,000 properties. He added that these matters would be considered at the working group and a way forward determined.
Recommended that (i) Members note that Derry City and Strabane District Council has successfully completed Phase VI (2014-2018) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network and (ii) Members approve that DCSDC submit an expression of interest through the Mayor’s Office in becoming a Phase VII (2019-2024) Healthy City Network member with an annual contribution of $6,000.