Opinion: Award shows we are on right track

The council won the Partnership of the Year accolade at the LGC awards.
The council won the Partnership of the Year accolade at the LGC awards.

I talked last month about how East Riding of Yorkshire Council is committed to investing in facilities, infrastructure and services for the benefit of our residents and communities.

We continue to spend millions of pounds on all sorts of capital projects, despite the huge funding cuts from central Government, because we firmly believe that such investment is crucial to the quality of life our residents enjoy and the economic prosperity of the East Riding.

I’m delighted to say this commitment received national recognition this month when East Riding of Yorkshire Council won a prestigious Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award for a scheme which uses our leisure facilities to help improve residents’ health. We have invested millions of pounds in not only upgrading existing leisure centres but also building a new one in the case of Bridlington and this has enabled us to take an innovative approach in the way our public health and leisure services work together to improve residents’ health and wellbeing.

They have collaborated on a variety of schemes, supported by GPs and specialist health teams, which help large numbers of people recover from serious illness, reduce the risk of them suffering life-threatening conditions and become generally healthier and fitter.

Our public health and leisure teams have been able to do this because of the investment in state-of-the-art equipment, expert training and support and top-class facilities and buildings.
The LGC award we won, Partnership of the Year, is testament to the success of our range of lifestyle change programmes which every day are helping to improve the health, wellbeing and lives of many East Riding residents. You may have benefitted from one of these schemes yourself, or know someone who has, and I have heard many heart-warming stories of people who have really turned their lives around through them. They include exercise referral from GPs, the Live Well and Young Live Well free programmes for overweight adults and youngsters, Heart Education and Active Rehabilitation Therapy and a 30-day programme called Health Plus which aims to achieve weight loss, lower blood pressure and better general health.

People aged between 40 and 74 can also have free NHS Health Checks at our leisure centres to help to assess the risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.

On the subject of the LGC award, the council was highly commended in two other categories – Public Health and Innovation – and was also shortlisted as a finalist in two more – Council of the Last 20 Years and Community Involvement.

To win such a respected, national award, get two highly-commended and be a finalist in two other categories is fantastic and is testament to the excellent work which is done day in, day out across the East Riding.

We continually strive to deliver high-quality services for our residents and communities and to be recognised for this from among hundreds of local councils is very rewarding.

Finally, being shortlisted for Council of the Last 20 Years in what is the authority’s 20th anniversary year makes me very proud because, when East Riding of Yorkshire Council was formed on 1 April 1996, our ambition was to be customer-focused and to provide excellent service.