Working together on community cohesion

When Calderdale Council’s Cabinet meets on Monday 8 April 2013, it will consider a request to arrange a ‘community cohesion summit’.

The suggestion comes from the Councils Communities Scrutiny Panel, which last month held a wide ranging discussion on priority issues for communities at a meeting at the Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre with community representatives, the Citizens Advice Bureau and West Yorkshire Police.

The Chair of Calderdale Council’s Communities Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Helen Rivron explained:

“Lots of excellent work is done by the Council, the Police and other organisations with communities, to address some of the very real issues that some people face about inequalities, exclusion and disadvantage, but we want to make sure that we are taking all the opportunities we can to strengthen communities by working together and thinking imaginatively.

“For example, the Council is currently working hard to make sure that we make the most efficient use of our buildings and land. This major project should include an analysis of the impact on local communities and businesses of where Council services are based.

“We have unacceptably high levels of infant mortality in Calderdale, which is not just a matter for the NHS and public health services, but something that housing agencies, children’s services and schools need to have proper discussions with communities to reduce the number of child deaths.

“And the Council has a target of making Calderdale a dementia-friendly Borough. That isn’t just a matter for our care services – all Council services, as well as other agencies have an important part to play.

“One suggestion made by community representatives at our meeting was that different organisations should sign a ‘Calderdale Pledge’ to community cohesion to demonstrate their commitment to thinking about the broader needs of communities, as well as their own, more narrow responsibilities and I hope that the Cabinet will decide to take this forward.

It is important that councils and other organisations have genuine discussions with citizens and communities and don’t just work on assumptions that we know what they are thinking and what they need.”

The Council’s Cabinet meets next Monday, 8 April at 6.00pm, in the Town Hall, Halifax. The meeting is open to the public, who are welcome to attend.

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