25th Sep, 2020

Wychavon councillor gives 'behind the scenes' look into his role

WYCHAVON representative for Droitwich Spa Central John Hartley gives a behind the scenes look at his life as councillor.

TACKLING social Isolation and loneliness is high on the agenda at Wychavon, where we are looking at ways to increase community engagement across the district.

There are a multitude of great clubs, societies and groups offering a host of activities catering for a wide array of interests, so it is not a case of reinventing the wheel, but rather encouraging greater participation.

Last Tuesday I was invited to spend the morning with Droitwich Community Transport, for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to some of our most vulnerable residents mobile.

The team of volunteers operate from their control centre in the Old Library, where residents can call to make a booking.

Hospital appointments, lunch clubs, shopping trips are all common destinations for the community shuttle bus. A great deal of care goes into this stellar service, and the drivers will accompany their passengers to the door, to ensure a safe arrival. This wrap-around care makes the service stand out and the scheme – backed by Wychavon – is a great example of tacking isolation.

Community engagement is a real priority, and since being elected I have looked at ways of breaking down barriers of communication to make the workings of the council easier for residents to understand. In turn this will lead to greater accountability in the decision making process, so that residents can feel that their concerns are accurately represented at Wychavon.

A great example of this was the ‘Communities and Agencies Together’ event on Tuesday aimed at addressing the massive population increase of the town. Representatives from the council, highways, education, healthcare, and the police, outlined what plans were in place to support an increased population. And residents were able to make their views known.

Finally, news and media outlets are the lifeblood of local democracy and I would urge residents to actively participate by engaging with their local press – reporting stories, submitting photos, letters and opinions.

Likewise, as I mentioned in a recent letter to residents, do not be afraid to look up from the busyness of life and take an interest in your community – it enriches everything.

Coun John Hartley

Wychavon District Council

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