Public Health England – Still another Country?

A couple of weeks ago, after an SCC Cabinet meeting I travelled to Warwick University where I was invited to co-chair a session at the Public Health England Conference, as a member of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board, and perhaps some of the work I have been involved in with the transition of Public Health to local government in the Eastern Region over the past 18 months.

A couple of strange things happened at the conference, firstly I arrived on the Tuesday evening to be given my student digs room key and a map of how to get there, to be fair they were far from the rooms I remember in my youth, in fact it was a brand new block with en-suite and very nicely set out, save for one thing a TV, it’s a long time since I have been anywhere where there was not a telly and it felt, very strange!

After Dinner on the Tuesday evening I retired to my TV less room and tried to watch that nights England football match on my laptop but it was not the same.

Looking through the Agenda the even stranger thing that struck me was the complete lack of Local Government representation. Given the almost the entirely sector has now been moved across to their respective upper tier authorities it was a really shock to know there were only 3 or 4 Councillors involved in any form of presenting or speaking, yet the whole point of the move across was to leverage many of the things local government do, that have a direct impact of the public health of our country form housing to access to sports. Something to be worked on I think.

The session I co-chaired with Dr Yvonne Doyle from Public Health England and the session focussed on Community Resilience and my role was to say a few words at the start and sum up at the end. There were 7 really interesting speakers:

  • Mike Grady – Institute for Health Equity, University College London who spoke about Community resilience and health: a national perspective.
  • Dominic Harrison – Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Community resilience and health spoke about delivery from within local government
  • Ian Rufus – Public Health England spoke about shifting the community resilience goalposts with social media
  • Aimee Stimpson – Wiltshire Council spoke about empowering communities to use intelligence and knowledge through local needs assessments
  • Amy McConville – TB Action Group Developing TB patient advocacy in the UK: TB Action Group and beyond
  • Kate O’Hara – Coventry City Council Communities feeling good and doing well in Coventry!
  • Alison Giles – Our Life Building community resilience: the Wellbeing Explorers’ citizen empowerment model

You can read more on the conference, presentation abstracts form the speakers and the session at:

I left to travel home thinking I need to discuss with the LGA the lack of involvement with the conference and find out how Local Government can be more involved in the future.

A splendid morning in Newmarket

Good to be back blogging after what feels like quite a break, over the past few weeks my spare time has been taken up with family matters with a very poorly mum who thankfully seems to be on the mend.

on Newmarket Warren Hill Gallops

on Newmarket Warren Hill Gallops discussing the role of the public facilities

A couple of weeks ago I along with the SCC cabinet was invited to visit Newmarket racing establishments by the Jockey Club. In some ways this is ‘coals to Newcastle’ as I was born in Newmarket and half my family are based in the town, but it’s useful to chat about the town and its predominate industry with those involved in the various aspects from Trainers such as John Berry, to Amy Starkey CE of the Race Courses and to discuss with them and William Gittus, our host for the morning some of the issues facing this important industry for Suffolk.

We visited the famous Warren Hill Gallops (hence the pictures) and had a presentation at the British Horse Racing School on aspects of the courses they run.

looking down the gallop into Newmarket

looking down the gallop into Newmarket

At lunch I caught up with Chris Garibaldi who is leading the Home of Horse Racing project and was pleased to hear they are about to break ground. SCC have committed £1m to the project that without the vision of FHDC’s original decision to save Palace House and provide the land and Palace house stables would never have happened.

I do believe that this project once open with have a significant positive effect on the economy of Newmarket and the vision of FHDC Councillors, led at the time of the original decision by Cllr. Geoffrey Jaggard and its CE David Burnip, will over time, be forgotten but not by those of us who were around the political scene these past few years such as myself. At we had lunch in the splendid surroundings of the Jockey Club rooms it struck me one day I will take a final stroll round a mature and world renowned museum and remember their vision, but for now can’t wait for it to open.

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