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Community Wellbeing

Report February 2022
Introduction from Cllr Tony Leech

Cllr Tony Leech

This update report sets out the progress the Council has made in achieving the key actions set out in the 2021/22 thematic delivery plan and I'm pleased that good progress has already been made across this theme area.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 Pandemic our focus is on helping our communities recover and overcome the challenges that many now face in relation to mental health and rural poverty and to provide opportunities to maintain good health through use of the Leisure Centres and outdoor environment.

We see the community and voluntary sector at the heart of supporting our communities and want to engage with and support them so that they can continue much of the good work that is already taking place.

We are also working in partnership with colleagues at Devon County Council to better understand the challenges within our communities and to bring together a plan to improve health and wellbeing.

This is the first performance report aligned to A Plan for West Devon with some of the key achievements being:

✔ Launching a £30,000 grant scheme for voluntary and community groups working to support both Mental and Physical Health and Wellbeing

✔ Consulted with the public and key stakeholders on a new Playing Pitch Strategy

✔ Commenced discussions with Devon County Council Public Health to inform a Rural Poverty Pilot

  • 7 Activities are on track and within budget
  • 0 Activities require additional intervention or have uncertainties that need managing
  • 0 Activities are off-track with no current clear plan to resolve
  • 0 Activities are not yet due to start

Over the coming pages, we set out more in-depth update for each action along with the wider benefits to our communities.

Action CW1.1 - Co-ordinating partners to deliver a targeted rural poverty pilot

Key Highlights

In 2021/22 Officers have been tasked with developing a pilot scheme to tackle rural poverty. This has involved scrutinising data regarding rural poverty (from the Regional Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and other sources) in the Council area. It also involves understanding the current provision of services (both statutory, charitable and voluntary) in the Council area. We are currently engaged with Devon County Council’s public health outreach team regarding the rural poverty pilot with the aim of developing a joint action plan. This action plan will include outreach activities in the local community aimed at reducing health inequalities and rural poverty.

Key Risks/Issues

  • Communities require sustainable support
  • The success of Charitable and voluntary groups are key to improving wellbeing in communities in a sustainable way
  • Direct Council supported interventions may be appropriate to address specific need

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

Officers will continue to liaise with Public Health colleagues at Devon County Council and voluntary and community partners to identify an appropriate location for a pilot scheme. We will look at how we can support the existing voluntary and community sector infrastructure in a sustainable way or consider more direct interventions where there is a specific short term need.

Overall Rating: Green - On Track


Launch a short-term grant scheme for the voluntary sector to implement projects supporting Health and Wellbeing

Key Highlights and Benefits

Provide a boost to local voluntary sector to support recovery from Covid-19 pandemic by providing direct short term grant funding. The grant scheme is making £30,000 available to voluntary and community groups and launched in February 2022.

Key Risks/Issues

The key risk is that more applications are received than the funding available. We will monitor this and consider other options once the deadline has passed.

Looking Ahead to the next 6 months

The grant application scheme closes in early March and we will consider application based on the agreed criteria and monitor the outcomes.

What difference will this make?

This should allow voluntary sector organisations to continue to recover from the impacts of covid and provide essential support in our communities.

Overall Rating: Green - On Track


Action CW 1.3 - Delivery of projects to enable residents to continue to live safely within their homes

Key Highlights

The Council is able to use its allocation of the Govt’s Better Care fund to finance disabled facilities grants. The focus of our work is on providing the maximum assistance to residents that we can and ensuring that any identified need is met as quickly as possible. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the number of DFG applications significantly reduced. However, following the relaxing of the lockdown measures, the number of applications has increased beyond levels expected in a “normal” year. As at the end of October, £139,257.67 has been spent on DFG’s compared to the allocation for 21/22 of £492,253.83. The RRO allocation for 2021/22 is £611,129.00 and we have so far spent £166,268.39 which includes stair-lift applications.

Green Homes Grants

The grant will be used to deliver external wall insulations and air source heat pumps for eligible households. The installations will reduce fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions from the households benefiting from the grants. A range of metrics including lifetime financial and carbon savings will be calculated and reported back at the end of the project. The full report on this scheme was considered by Hub on 20th October 2020, Minute HC31.

Key Risks/Issues

  • We are not in control of all of the timescales in the overall process – the increase in the number of grant applications since restrictions lifting may result in the number of applicants waiting for work to commence increase due to shortages in labour and materials. This is unfortunately beyond our control.
  • The Government grant provided varies from year to year
  • We are not in control of demand that may vary from year to year
  • Green Homes Grants – Due to major supply chain difficulties nationally and locally, we are reviewing our approach to delivering the grants.

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

We will continue to ensure that this area is sufficiently resourced to continue our good performance.

What difference will this make?

Disabled adaptations are often crucial in enabling a person to be able to continue to live independently in their own home. Installing an adaptation may also mean that a person can return home from hospital, relieving pressure on hospital beds. There are some examples in Appendix A1 of some of the positive impacts of the adaptations installed this year.

Overall rating - GREEN - On Track


Action CW1.4 – Development of a new playing pitch strategy

Key Highlights

The new playing pitch strategy has been completed and will shortly be published. The strategy will ensure that our Communities benefit from development through the provision of s106 funding to support sports facilities. The Playing Pitch Strategy will be published shortly.

Key Issues/Risks

Without an agreed playing pitch strategy it would be more difficult to secure s106 funding form developments to improve playing pitch provision in the Borough.

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

The strategy will be published and used to influence s106 allocations for sports pitch development

What difference will this make?

Communities will benefit from improved and new sports facilities where there is a need for them. Increased opportunity and better facilities will have a positive impact on resident’s health and wellbeing.

Overall Rating - GREEN - On Track


Action CW1.5 – Provision of high-quality and accessible leisure services

Key Highlights

The provision of leisure services by Fusion has been hugely effected by the Covid pandemic. Council has supported Fusion during this period. Another part of the Councils leisure provision are children’s play areas which are by our Communities.

A full report on Fusion performance will be presented to Elected Members in March

Key Risks/Issues

  • Leisure services have been impacted severely by covid.
  • We are not in direct control of visitor numbers.

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

We will continue to monitor visitor numbers to our leisure centres and meet regularly with Fusion to understand the challenges they face and support them to maintain and improve our leisure services.

What difference will this make?

Increased participation in healthy activity will contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of our communities.

Overall Rating - GREEN - on Track


Action CW1.6 – Support delivery of mental health support and outreach for young people

Key Highlights

Funding was provided to Tavistock Youth Café and Room 13 (SPACE) in Okehampton to support the wellbeing of young people in the area. Tavistock Youth Café works with young people from Tavistock and surrounding areas south of the borough including Princetown, Yelverton, Horrabridge and Bere Alston. We have received a report on the outcomes of the funding (Appendix A2).

Key Risks/Issues

  • Evidence provided by the Police and the community indicated that there was an increase in youth related anti-social behaviour in the area during the covid pandemic
  • The Youth Café and Room 13 were able to quickly provide direct interventions to support young people but required funding to do so

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

Evaluate the success of the funding and the impact on young person wellbeing in the area. Decide how to best distribute the funding allocated to this action in our strategy.

What difference will this make?

Positive Outcomes include:

  • Relief from boredom, leading to ASB
  • Socializing with others
  • Access to youth workers and more opportunities to get involved with future Youth Café activities
  • Food for young people
  • Keeping vulnerable young people in site
  • Offering a safe space for young people who feel intimidated by others

Overall Rating - GREEN - on Track


Action CW1.7 – Work with Devon County Council to develop a joined up approach to mental health and wellbeing

Key Highlights

Officers are currently working with DCC and NHS partners to understand the current referral processes and the NHS plans for reviewing and improving access to mental health services. The Vulnerability Officer post has also gained valuable insight into the customer journey when dealing with mental health services. Work has been ongoing to publish links on our website to key benefits and support for the public.

Key Risks/Issues

  • We are not in control of the process
  • There is an excellent opportunity to feed into the review of the Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF) currently in progress;
  • The relationships between existing partners is often complex and varies from area to area

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

To work with the Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF) to assist design and implementation of services and ensure we understand and know how the Council services can fit in to ensure a better experience for the customer.

We have just published the link to the key benefits and support to the public on our Support Directory

What difference will this make?

Linking in with the NHS review of the Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF) will be the most effective way of ensuring the Council is joined up with mental health services and that the customer experience is improved.

Overall Rating - GREEN


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