Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The health of our residents and High Streets

The health of our residents and the health of our High Streets dominated my diary last Thursday.

A busy day started with meetings at County Hall in the morning, then in the afternoon I was Chairing the Health and Wellbeing Board where the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for West Sussex presented their draft commissioning plans.

Then it was off to Haywards Heath as I had been invited to attend the Haywards Heath and District Business Association who had their AGM that evening, and as part of the event had organised a Panel to answer questions raised by members.

The Chairman gave a concise report of all the business activity during the year. It was an interesting summary and I thought the latest initiative for two interns to gain work experience was really practical and certainly they were both doing a good job helping out during the meeting. The association has also raised money for defibrillators and charity, so they truly are a 'business community'.

There was a wide range of questions when it came to the Panel Session with quite a bit of time spent on the challenges for our towns and how to reinvigorate them.

Town centres are under pressure due to the tough economic climate, and the change in shopping patterns with out of town retail parks and internet shopping.
Mary Portas has done a good job in raising the issues, but we all need to think what more we can do to help.

With Gary Wall, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, Nicholas Soames MP for Mid Sussex and myself, there were the three tiers of Government to listen, learn and advise.

My thanks to the Haywards Heath and District Business Association for a very thought provoking evening.

There are many similar business groups and chambers of commerce throughout West Sussex which will all play a key role in helping improve the economy of our county.

On Friday it was a case of young people taking over. I was in County Hall and spent most of the day being shadowed by Robert (aged 21) and Robin (aged 14) as the County Council was taking part in the National Take Over Day organised by the Children's Commission.

It was good to spend time with Robert and Robin and to listen to their views, ideas and suggestions. I certainly found it a rewarding day and I hope they did too.

Best wishes,

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