Events I Have Attended

New Towns as Sustainable Communities Conference

 

I have attended the New Towns as Sustainable Communities Project Final Conference in Brussels.  This project aims to work with those in the UK, France and Netherlands to drive forwards the development of new towns such as Basildon in the best way. This includes addressing issues such as social cohesion, and maintaining economic investment, whilst at the same time ensuring the environment in such towns is protected. 

You can find out more about this project by visiting the website:

 

New Towns as Sustainable Communities

 

 

Local Democracy Week

As part of this year’s Local Democracy Week Sustainable Community Services hosted a Local Democracy Event for local schools which I attended.

 

Students

 The day was a huge success with Beauchamps, Billericay, Bromford, Chalvedon, De La Salle, James Hornsby High, Woodlands and Barstable schools attended and each bringing between ten and twelve students. Also present were twelve Basildon District Councillors, as well as Superintendent Glenn Caton from Basildon Police, Ian Wake, Assistant Director of Public Health at South West Essex Primary Care Trust, Russell Ward Head of Street Scene and Open Spaces at Basildon Council, Roy Short, Cultural Services Manager (BC) and Tracey Ridgewell, Youth and Community Engagement Co-ordinator (BC). 

 

As part of the Local Democracy Week campaign, the event helped to make the Council more relevant and useful to young people, encouraging young people to 'take part and take power'. The young people had the opportunity to meet and debate with local councillors and other guests through a range of interactive and fun activities designed to make councils more relevant and useful to young people.

 

The ‘question time’ event, which saw the young people grill their local representatives about pressing local issues proved to be very popular. It was also a great forum for young people to share their ideas about how Basildon district could be improved for them and what they felt were highlights about living in their local area. Importantly, the event enabled the Councillors to meet with their younger constituents, providing an insight into their needs and concerns.

 

The young people were also consulted on the Integrated Youth Strategy, which is under development.  The event was a great opportunity to improve young people’s democratic engagement and promote the importance of involvement in local politics. Basildon Council also took away lots of innovative ideas for improvement from the young people and aims to put some of these into reality.

 

BALLOON LAUNCH FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION STRATEGY

 
I attended the social inclusion strategy launch where two hundreds balloons were released in Basildon town centre to mark the launch of a new social inclusion strategy by the council
The balloons, 150 of them orange and 50 white, represent the one in four children who live in poverty across the country.

Councillor Terri Sergeant, cabinet member for community, will be on hand to release the balloons in St Martin’s Square, along with the council’s chief executive, Bala Mahendran.

The strategy is a 50-page package of measures designed to address problems that lead to marginalisation like unemployment, poor skills, low income, crime, health and family breakdown.

The framework, entitled ‘Basildon Council: A Social Inclusion Strategy’, was drawn up following extensive consultation with the local voluntary and community sector.

It outlines four key objectives to break the cycle leading to social exclusion, tackle isolation where it occurs, encourage a coordinated approach to the problem and promote inclusion within the council.

“Social exclusion describes the experience of groups, like single parents or the disabled, who are unable to play a full part in society because of a range of disadvantages they face,” said Councillor Terri Sargent, Cabinet Member for Community Services.

“As a community leader, we are obliged to promote an inclusive society that offers fair and equal life chances for all.

“We hope this new strategy will help break down the barriers to opportunities faced by vulnerable sections of the community, and ensure all residents have equal access to local services and facilities.

“By tackling isolation and the root causes of it, we can work towards creating a better quality of life in Basildon.”

A rolling programme of 19 goals has been drawn up, including plans to help more older and disabled people live independent lives, reduce teenage pregnancies and improve basic skill levels and employment opportunities.

There are also plans to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and exercise, reduce domestic violence, improve the built environment, encourage voluntary and community groups to work together and celebrate diversity and equality.