Monday, January 25, 2010

Campaigns galore

The day started with a meeting at Durham of the Regional Fairtrade Forum, hearing of lots of big exciting events that are going to happen in Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland for Fairtrade Fortnight. Although I don't think that Fairtrade really should be a council run thing I do envy those areas which have a someone paid to organise events at this time of year. Instead of a handful of volunteers trying to do half a dozen jobs each they have someone whose job is to organise these things.
Never mind, we'll do our best with the resources we have and try to get the message out into the communities of Stockton.
Before that finished I had to leave to get back to Stockton for a meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Partnership. This is a partnership between various parts of the NHS in the borough and parts of the council along with community sector and bodies like the police and fire brigade. When such partnerships work they are a very good way of getting work done for the well being of the people of the borough but when they don't work they're worse than a waste of time. Fortunately I think today's meeting showed the partnership is working. There's a real willingness to share ideas and to get the best out of the resources available. Of course, like so many good things these days we find that something's been funded for two years when the results won't really be seen for perhaps 10 years. How on earth do you assess whether something has worked in a year or two? And how can we even contemplate failure when what's at stake is the mental health of our children and teenagers.
As part of the meeting we had a whistle stop tour of the health strategy for the Tees valley and were told that we consume 9million units of alcohol over the govt guidelines in this area, smoke 9 million cigarettes and carry around 2500 tonnes of excess fat! A horrible thought. No wonder we need so many plans and strategies for improving our health. I did think that a sizeable proportion of those cigarettes end up on the pavement in Yarm on Saturday night judging by the amount being swept up on Sunday morning when I walk down there.
Later in the day there was a meeting of the ward councillors for Eaglescliffe to discuss the meeting tomorrow night and finalise arrangements followed by Western Area Partnership board, with discussion on whether to have a policy for regulating A boards in Yarm and Norton High Streets and a very interesting presentation on Financial capacity training from the CAB, also known as Stockton District Advice and Information Service. The staggering rise in debt enquiries and people being helped confirmed us in our view that putting our small funds into that service for the people of the Western Area was a very good idea.
And finally home, to complete preparations and to eat and to catch up with my husband, last seen 12 hours earlier!

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