Cabinet backs vision for achieving a healthier county
21 March 2019
Our Cabinet has backed a new vision for collaborative working on social, economic and environmental themes to create a healthier Cumbria.
Cabinet councillors recommended the Cumbria Public Health Strategy, drawn up by Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health Colin Cox with support from officers from other bodies including ourselves, be adopted.
Councillor Phillip Dixon, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, told the meeting: “The reality is that within this document there are a number of very significant challenges to us but I am sure that we will embrace the strategy.”
He added: “Change has got to come about locally and we want to enable people to continue to live long, healthy and happy lives in the terrific environment of South Lakeland.”
Instead of focusing on individuals’ lifestyle choices and behaviours, which are already being addressed, the strategy acknowledges the conditions in which a person is born, lives, works and ages impacts on their access and ability to live a healthier life.
These are known as the wider determinants of health; social, economic and environmental factors which include housing, education, employment, working conditions, the natural environment, food production and water.
A report to the meeting said: “This strategy provides a strong framework which demonstrates the cross-cutting nature of the work South Lakeland District Council undertakes. Adopting this strategic approach will improve the council’s contribution to promoting, enabling and providing services which improve health of our communities.”
The report detailed the key topics in the strategy, including protecting and enhancing Cumbria’s green and blue spaces, reducing waste, ensuring that all communities have good access to a wide range of leisure opportunities, reducing crime and antisocial behaviour; improving housing stock; and ensuring that economic development supports health and wellbeing and tackles inequalities.
Some of the ways we already contribute to these aims include ensuring the continued operation of our two leisure centres; adopting our Waste and Recycling Policy, our co-ordination of the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership, with priorities of tackling alcohol and violent crime, domestic abuse, mental health and child sexual exploitation; and our adoption of planning policies to provide affordable housing and enabling sustainable housing and employment growth in South Lakeland through the Local Plan.
The strategy received cross-party support and Councillor Giles Archibald, our leader, said: “This is a very important document and we are very keen to work collaboratively and in a cross-party manner to help improve the aspirations contained in it.”
He added: “Climate change, for example, is a very serious issue. We have time to correct the mistakes of the past but not a lot of time and it is important that we work together.”
If adopted, the strategy would supersede our existing Public Health Strategy 2014-19 as a policy framework document.