Monday, 18 March 2013

Altogether Better

Wow - I've just had one of my most productive days as a Councillor.

I had two meetings - one this afternoon and the other this evening all about the Altogether Better agenda for Western Cheshire generally and for Frodsham in particular.

The first meeting was with public sector partners.  We sat around the table with colleagues from police, fire, health, Weaver Vale Housing Trust, a key local education specialist and Frodsham Town Council as well as my colleagues from Cheshire West and Chester Council. and   We explored how we could work together going forward.

Everyone agreed and accepted that working together going forward was the right thing to do - and the best way of maximising and shaping Frodsham centred outcomes.  There was also agreement that this would also be the best way in securing help for the vulnerable in Frodsham.

Did you know:
Frodsham has the highest level of unemployment of any CWaC rural community;
22% of Frodsham's population is 65 or more; and
one segment of our community is amongst most deprived 20% in the country.

Our public sector partners indicated that they thought Frodsham was too small to work with alone.  We had a general consensus that a population size of around 20,000 or perhaps as high as 30,000 would be the ideal size.  I suggested we worked on the basis of the catchment area of Helsby High School - one public sector colleague said - 'I can't believe no one has suggested this before!'

The second meeting looked at the same issues but was a briefing for Frodsham Town Council.  As many of you know I have been trying for years to get FTC to lift its horizons - this was a truly heartwarming experience seeing the enthusiasm I have being extended to my colleagues and seeing them grasp the idea that FTC could have a seat at the top table - and influence all manner of public service delivery in Frodsham.

If we can start to make this work in the next 2 years we really will have made some really significant progress.