Suffolk Flexicare Conference

Making my point at the Conference

Making my point at the Conference

Last Wednesday week we held the return conference, Suffolk Flexicare 2, almost 2 years to the day after Flexicare 1, in the same location of Newmarket racecourse. In some ways it was slightly surreal seeing my successor as Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care chairing the meeting after living and breathing adult social care in Suffolk for 4 years, but Cllr. Dr. Alan Murray did so with great aplomb, as I know he will do the role, we even share a joke about being a double act hopefully more Morecombe and Wise that Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hind not sure which I am but in my closing remarks I said I have short fat hairy legs and he wears glasses, sorry sort of an in-joke on the day.

Alan and I are working together as he learns the ropes on what is a vast and difficult service area and of course he brings to it an added dimension with his considerable experience in Health.  I hope as we debate the coming years budgets my experience in this service area will be useful as collectively we grapple with the demands of an ageing population and less money to provide services indeed provide services across all areas of the Council’s service delivery for the people of Suffolk, a challenge I now have political responsibility for. In many ways the issue of finance and our ageing population go hand in hand, I think we all have a vision of what we want, now we have to work out how we afford it.

The day was a mixture of key note speakers from the excellent Stephen Burke of United for all Ages a really intelligent think tank on the subject of housing in our society to Stephen Javes, CE of Orwell Housing who delivered his usual challenging thoughts on the way forward for social housing and in particular Extra Care Housing which is Suffolk is called Very Shelter Housing a kindly reference to Judith Hawshawk the powerhouse who pioneered such a thing in Suffolk before she so untimely past away. Their speeches were interspersed by a number of speakers who offered a different perspective of being form local voluntary organisations and older people who talked about their aspiration for their future housing needs.

Amongst the break out sessions was one I am particularly proud of, hosted by SCC’s former officer Dan Gaul now of Change3C who was presenting the Housing LIN tool for understanding the ageing population numbers drilled down to town and villages. I am proud as this is something he and I worked on together when I felt it was absolutely vital in planning terms for local planning authority officers and Councillors to be able to translate national ageing data set at and into their community level and I am proud to see this now available to all Councils through the Housing LIN.

I closed the day and focused on two things really firstly the notion that actually getting housing right for older people can be about aspiration and needs rather than settling for something that addresses their needs and the challenge to move and create an environment where Developers, social entrepreneurs and Registered Social Housing providers can come forward, invest and delivery the vast number of schemes we will need to see to address the needs of this one part of our ageing population needs.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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