Supporting residents through the cost-of-living crisis and providing free activities and food to children during the school holidays are just some examples of effective partnership work in County Durham, councillors will hear next week.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be updated on the activities of the County Durham Partnership (CDP) when it meets on Wednesday, March 15.
The partnership is made up of key public, private, voluntary and community sector organisations including Durham County Council, with all members working together to improve the quality of life for people within the county.
The CDP’s activities are focused on the County Durham Vision 2035, which aims to create more and better jobs, support people to live long and independent lives and ensure communities are connected.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Partnership working is vital to County Durham, especially as we support our residents through the rising cost of living.
“There are many examples of effective partnership work from the CDP and this approach to a range of issues will inform the way public services operate for years to come.
“We know that we have strong and resilient communities across the county but by working together with all our partners, we can help to make those even stronger.
“We look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of everyone who lives, works and visits the county.”
Cabinet will hear this partnership approach remains effective and will receive a report setting out key examples of partnership work, including:
• Warm Spaces: There are now 175 premises registered across the county as a Warm Space, including the council’s 39 libraries. This network of Warm Spaces provides residents with a safe place to go to keep warm and enjoy a little company throughout the winter, having been jointly funded by the council and County Durham Community Foundation.
• Fun and Food: The council’s Fun and Food programme continues to deliver free activities for children and young people in the school holidays. Over the Christmas period, community partners including schools, community arts groups and leisure centres delivered 98 projects. These were attended by 4,568 children and young people. Additional funding is available to extend the programme through all school holidays until February 2024.
• Creating more and better jobs: A bold and ambitious new strategy that will shape County Durham’s economy over the next decade and beyond has been developed. The County Durham Inclusive Economic Strategy sets a clear, long-term vision for the area’s economy up to 2035 with an overarching aim to create more and better jobs in an inclusive, green economy. A detailed delivery plan will now be developed by the Economic Partnership, giving stakeholders another chance to help shape and deliver the strategy. This will be reviewed regularly so that it can respond to economic changes, allowing priorities to be reassessed and reset.
• Area Action Partnership projects: The council’s 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) have allocated funding to a number of voluntary and community groups. This has helped to: support residents into work, volunteering and training; transform community spaces; tackle social isolation and loneliness; and offer opportunities for residents to improve their health and wellbeing.
• Connected communities: The council has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including AAPs, to develop an anti-social behaviour strategy. This sets out a vision to improve lives through tackling anti-social behaviour and includes guiding principles on how partners can work together to identify issues that have the most impact on residents and visitors within County Durham.
• Tackling climate change: Following the declaration of an ecological emergency in April 2022, work continues to tackle climate change and reduce emissions. There are now 130 Waste Electrical and Electronic (WEE) recycling collection points across the county, offering residents the chance to recycle small electrical and battery-operated items. Pupils in County Durham have joined schools across the globe during COP27 to pledge to protect the environment and the Chester-le-Street AAP has agreed to support the climate friendly schools project to help the whole school community become more climate aware and take climate action.
Cllr Scott added: “The extensive nature of partnership working across County Durham is both enlightening and inspiring.
“It is helping to improve outcomes for residents and support them through challenges such as the current cost-of-living crisis.
“We are also pleased to see the significant work that our dedicated AAP staff make in their communities.
“Looking ahead, we want to further strengthen our partnership work and engage even more people to ensure we continue to meet the changing needs of our communities.”