A community planning convention which brought more than 100 representatives from across the voluntary, community and business sector together last night (22 October 2018) has been called a ‘milestone’ in the delivery of the Mid Ulster Community Plan.
The audience had gathered to hear how the 10-year plan, which involves more than 40 organisations working collectively to improve the lives of local people, has progressed since its launch last year.
Updates included an overview of the Ageing Well programme from Hugh Nelson, Head of Community Wellbeing at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, which supports older people to live independently at home and to reduce isolation and fear of crime.
Since the programme launched, up to 400 people across Mid Ulster receive a ‘good morning’ phone call every week day and access to a ‘handy van’ service is also provided.
The positive economic impact of the Plan was also addressed with Alan McKeown, Chair of the Mid Ulster Skills Forum and Corporate Services Director with global meat company, Dunbia, talking about the comprehensive study of skills and employability commissioned by the Forum and an action plan with the potential to create more than 2,300 jobs by 2021.
Invest NI’s Ethna McNamee also focussed on business growth, outlining the collaborative efforts in developing a strong sub regional proposition that highlights Mid Ulster’s unique strengths to potential investors, as well as Invest NI’s ongoing work to help businesses in the area by supporting jobs, R&D and export growth.
Speaking at the convention, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, emphasised that community planning was ‘about people’ not number’:
“This evening’s event is, in many ways, a milestone in the community planning process, marking the first time we have brought people together to talk about our progress since the plan was launched in May last year.
“Community engagement shaped the plan and influenced our focus and our priorities over a 10 year lifespan. We have 5 themes, 15 outcomes, 76 strategic actions, 31 of them are identified as short-term and can be further sub-divided into over 100 separate action areas, with 50 partners working to achieve them.
“Let’s be clear though: this is not about numbers. It’s about people. People are at the heart of community planning because this is about making a real and tangible difference to the lives of the people of Mid Ulster”.
Conor Corr, Member of the Strategic Partnership Board, said:
“This Short term Delivery Plan provides us with great opportunities to work together with a broad range of partners to deliver the best possible results on priorities for our communities and businesses in Mid Ulster”.
For further information about the Mid Ulster Community Plan, visit www.midulstercouncil.org/communityplan.