Health and well-being are such important parts of all our everyday lives. Since elected I felt it was important to become involved in supporting this and I was delighted to attend the Weston Central Health Forum which recently met to discuss some of the issues which are predominant in Central Ward, the very ward which covers most of central Weston. Many organisations and groups have been working to improve the situation in the area, however the current statistics are nothing less than appalling, Over a third of children in the ward live in poverty and life expectancy rates are shockingly low. Men in the area can expect to live on average to 67.5 years and women to 76 years whereas North Somerset as a whole averages an age of just above 84. The area also records worryingly low scores in negative well-being, far below other areas in North Somerset. When considered in conjunction with statistics revealing 13% of residents receiving long-term sickness or disability benefits and 9% of people being unemployed, the current situation makes dire reading.
I do not know how we have reached this position but it’s clearly unacceptable. As their new ward Councillor I intend to act as I believe a Councillor should. It’s simply not right to shrug shoulders, accept a difficult situation, and let things continue in the same direction as it has done for so many years. We must increase the pace of efforts to facilitate a solution.
As part of the new town centre regeneration programme I am determined that we focus our attention not just on new buildings and infrastructure, but also invest in living, learning, health and lifestyles. How we feel about and interact with our environment, along with who we are, is something we can all become involved with, including the Council. I am determined that this complex and difficult area has fresh light shone on it and I want to work with all the charities and agencies involved on a long-term resolution that will improve the lives of all those who live and work in our town centre and Central ward.