Monday, 30 July 2012

Recognising the brave work of our armed forces

Last Thursday evening in the warm glow of the late afternoon, I was co-signatory to the Community Covenant, which is an agreement between West Sussex County Council and the military community

The purpose is to encourage, at a local level, support for the armed forces community working and living in West Sussex.

This includes veterans, reservists and the families of all who live or have lived in our county.

After the signing, Brigadier Simon P. Wolsey OBE, Regional Brigade Commander 2 (South East) Brigade, gave a short address. He said that for many people when the word veteran is mentioned, people think of an older person, while in reality it could be an 18-year-old who has lost both legs while on duty.

Whilst he stressed that it was not about being a special case, there is a need to acknowledge and help our service personnel. I personally believe that it is our moral obligation to help those who protect our country.
Whether aged 78 or 18, service personnel have served this country very well and made sacrifices. Many, as we see and hear on the news, include the ultimate price of their life, leaving families and friends devastated and grieving.

It’s not only about the physical disabilities which are visible, there are many accounts of Post Traumatic Stress and mental illness, which can take years to manifest and equally devastates lives.

When serving in the forces the personnel become part of a large military 'family' and they are supported within the regiment or squadron where there is strong camaraderie and friendships. However, on leaving the services, that way of life changes and that in itself can be very challenging for people settling back in to civilian life.

It is for these reasons that I was extremely proud and delighted to be part of putting our name to this covenant and for this County Council to do all it can to help our brave men and women who have done so much for this country and the freedoms it represents.

Best wishes,

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The brave work of our Police officers

A little while ago I received an invitation from Sussex Police’s West Sussex Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Martin Walker, to present the awards at the Sussex Police West Sussex Divisional Awards Ceremony.

Naturally I was delighted to accept - the County Council has a strong working relationship with Sussex Police and especially the West Sussex Division. We work closely on many issues and in particular child protection, which is a high priority for both of us.

The afternoon was to honour officers, staff, and members of the public who have acted above and beyond the call of duty to bring peace and justice to communities in West Sussex in a range of ways, including compassion, bravery, perseverance, duty and initiative.

Listening to the citations read out was simply inspiring. It reminded me that our policemen and women go out on duty every day in the knowledge that they could confront anything from the extreme end such as murder, sex offenders, or having guns or knives pulled at them, to burglaries, domestic violence, potential suicides, or to saving a life.

It’s all part of a working day in the line of duty, to keep peace and protect all our communities.

My thanks to all those serving and in particular those receiving awards for all they do in West Sussex.

To find out more about the awards, visit the Sussex Police website. 

Best wishes,

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Preparing for an ageing population

My Cabinet colleagues and I discussed the implications of an increasing elderly population at our quarterly public Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

We received a report on ‘Preparing for an Ageing Population’, which has been developed by a Councillors ‘Task and Finish Group’, chaired by Graham Tyler who is the Deputy Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services.

West Sussex has an ageing population which is set to increase, so it is really important to look at future demands and needs over the next 20 years, so that we can ensure the County Council is able to meet those requirements.

This is not exclusively about Social Services. It is very much a holistic approach looking at how we deliver all services in order that they are age-friendly. This includes early intervention and preventative measures as well as supporting people to live independent lives.

It is new territory for the County Council and involves working closely with our partners such as District and Borough Councils, the NHS and Sussex Police so we ensure West Sussex is a good place to ‘Age With Confidence’.

An important focus is encouraging younger members of our community to start planning now and preparing for their future.

This is a broad and fascinating subject and there were several comments during our meeting about negative stereotyping of older people.

We know that there are a lot of very active people in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in our county who are living full and active lives. They play very important roles in the community from volunteering to caring, and are some of our unsung heroes in West Sussex. Many of these people are inspirational in what they do and achieve, and are fine examples of ageing with confidence in West Sussex.

Find out more about our ‘Age With Confidence’ initiative.

Best wishes,

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