Working together for Uttlesford’s future

DOZENS of community representatives gathered to discuss how they can work together for the benefit of the district – and encourage others to do so as well.

The district’s Local Strategic Partnership Uttlesford Futures (a partnership of public, voluntary and private sector organisations led by Uttlesford District Council) hosted its annual assembly, with the concepts of the Big Society and localism high on the agenda.

Delegates enjoyed an update on the various successful projects that Uttlesford Futures has already completed – including the juice bar for teenagers in Great Dunmow and the Rural HELP programme which takes exercise classes to rural areas and encourages people to think about healthy lifestyles.

But it was how community leaders can encourage residents to work together for the good of the district which dominated discussions on the day.

Delegates seized the opportunity to think about how closer links between different groups, including parish councils and the voluntary sector, could reap significant rewards.

There are already many examples of how the district is meeting the ideals of the Big Society and localism – from voluntary organisation involvement in running local services such as the Saffron Walden Museum Society and the Uttlesford Tenant Forum, to the devolution of services to local level where appropriate, such as town and parish councils taking on the running of some services.

Uttlesford district councillor Howard Rolfe, who is chairman of Uttlesford Futures, said: “The level of support both during the day and in the community in general is most encouraging.

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“It is well understood that financial resource will be tighter in the coming months and years but this should not prevent us from working together to provide the level of services and community support that people want and enjoy.”

All the suggestions generated at the event will be considered by the Uttlesford Futures Board in the coming weeks and fed into new projects and initiatives wherever possible. This information will be available on the Uttlesford Futures web pages (linked from the homepage and discussed at north and south community forums.