June 2020

Zooming Around Everything is zooming around with technology—including the Town Council, reports Heather Williams It first started to become obvious that things might change for all of us in Ruthin when coronavirus was reported in the UK at the beginning of March. Ruthin Town Council, which had started to hold meetings in November 2019 at its new premises, The Old Courthouse/Yr Hen Lys, held a Council Meeting on March 16th. Seating for  councillors was arranged to meet ‘social distancing’ requirements (a new expression which we’ve all got used to) and there was an additional agenda item ‘Coronavirus’.  At this meeting, along with others held by councils across the UK, the Town Council resolved to not hold meetings until further notice. It was also agreed that the Clerk and Old Courthouse Manager should work from home. With no further meetings possible, the Mayor, Gavin Harris, wrote a message for the Ruthin Town Council website explaining that while as a council it would not meet face to face for the foreseeable future, councillors would keep in contact via email and utilise its Emergency Powers meeting structure for any pressing matters that arose. Councillors wanted to emphasise that they would continue to be contactable via phone and email to offer any support or assistance for local residents (search ‘Ruthin Town Council’ for its website where there are details). In addition, contact details were provided for key organisations. Since then, the Mayor has provided a weekly update which is live on Facebook on Saturdays (5.30pm in Welsh and 6.00pm in English), which is also available on the website and as a PDF document. These updates provide information about  local support available and also snippets of interest e.g. activities undertaken to mark VE Day.  As it is not expected that council meetings will return to normal for some months, new regulations have been brought in by the Welsh Government to deal with the current situation, which will apply to all meetings held before 1 May 2021. This will allow for meetings to take place by telephone, Skype, Zoom (another new word in most people’s vocabulary!) or any other facility which enables persons who are not in the same place to speak to and be heard by each other (whether or not they can see each other). The legislation also removes the requirement for a council to hold an annual meeting in May 2020, so to allow the current chairman (in Ruthin, this is the Mayor) to continue on until the Annual Meeting in May 2021, although councils may elect a chairman at an earlier meeting should they wish to do so. Here in Ruthin, the Town Council is gradually getting used to using the new technology. Meetings via Zoom (which is video technology allowing a number of people to meet/see each other and discuss issues), have been held with members of the Old Courthouse/Yr Hen Lys working group, which is helping to develop the future activities in the building. Working with DCC County Archives, Yr Hen Lys is seeking stories about lockdown and this challenging time from the Ruthin Community, for display in an exhibition later in the year to showcase peoples’ contributions, which can be through art, poetry, writing, textiles, photography, videos, music etc. Kate is also looking for volunteers to help out when the building is up and running again. Contact for these activities is kate.harcus@theoldcourthouse.wales. The Town Council held an ‘ordinary’ Council meeting on 18th May via Zoom.
Archive from 2013 Historic Interest