Thursday, January 31, 2008

3 small steps

Sometimes it's not the big gestures which get things done but the little conversations and debates behind the scenes. That's what's been happening this week.
First of all there was the first meeting of the new Health and Wellbeing Partnership for the borough - a mix of councillors, council officers, health professionals and community representation. As part of a discussion on community cohesion I suggested that the Borough's markets could be a big help to people trying to have a healthy diet. They sell fresh fruit and veg at a reasonable price in whatever quantity people want to buy, so if they also had posters which helped us to choose a good balance or leaflets with cooking instructions it might be a good help. To my amazement this was taken up as "a really good idea" all round the table. Then yesterday when I mentioned it in the context of a discussion about the market again it was seized on, so watch out for something happening in the next few months on the markets.
Some time ago the Fairtrade group suggested having FT cotton bags available on the market, printed with the FT logo and the market logo. It seemed to get lost in the system. Yesterday I found that it was being discussed and again it's getting a favourable hearing as an easy way of promoting the market. It was also part of the Lib Dem campaign to reduce the number of plastic bags being used and I found that was also being taken seriously!
I've also suggested in one or two forums in the past that locally sourced food should be used when possible but been told it wasn't possible. Yesterday I was told that the costs and practicalities of doing this for civic catering were being looked at - wow!
Meanwhile, we are spending a lot of time looking at the budget for the coming year and trying as always to get a quart out of a pint pot. It seems that every year the government gives us more things we have to do with less and less money, and residents find it harder every year (along with councillors) to understand the complexities of the budget.

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