Creating a Healthier Happier Herefordshire January 2018 to 2020

The Vision

The citizens of Herefordshire are blessed to live in a beautiful County with immense Social, Natural and Human capital. However, there is significant poverty and hardship. It is a rural and sparsely populated County with the commensurate fiscal challenges like Cumbria, Cornwall and Lincolnshire – we don’t fit the national blueprint. It is an agricultural County awaiting the impact of Brexit and already experiencing challenges of the UK Farming sector and a shortage of immigrant workforce. We are all agreed on and are working towards, a better future for Herefordshire.

The Network, Social Movements and Alliances

Our events have been attended, contributed to and presented at, by representatives and activists from many sectors e.g. Health; Social Care; Local Authority; Civic; Civil; Voluntary, Community, Agriculture; Faith, The Diocese; Business; Education; Media; Technology; Arts and Culture; Tourism. A collective voice and energy with a reach of 120,000 in a County population of 185,000

“We are part of the national and global movement for social justice. Challenging the economic model that counts growth in numbers rather than people’s wellbeing, means building movements for change with workers, faith leaders, artists and activists.” Oxfam November 2019

 A series of extraordinary events:

  1. The future of Health and Care (Sustainability, the challenge now and of the 21st century) January 2018.

A local conversation reflecting that needed at National level about how a tax funded service can meet the exponential increase in need, demand and expectations of the 21st Century, when only 57% of the population pay tax. A General Election is approaching and there are proposals for unparalleled public sector investment in 2020, but there has also been an expert report (https://www.ifs.org.uk/election/2019) demonstrating that no amount of possible investment will be enough.

  1. Joined up doing (Reflecting the many parallel initiatives) April 2018

Against the backdrop of insufficient funding it was exasperating to find the many well-meaning initiatives delivered by great people but in isolation or parallel to others. This meeting began the improved connectivity across the County and our different sectors.

  1. How can we work better together to create change? (acting on cross sector connectivity) September 2018

A series of presentations of key initiatives across Herefordshire to raise awareness across the County and Sectors. Improving connectivity, raising awareness, amplifying voices. Growing our tribe.

  1. Arts on prescription; Social prescribing; Time banking (Supporting a new initiative from the NHS and a City of Culture initiative in Herefordshire) December 2018

Artists and artisans are a significant small business sector in our rural economy and an opportunity for business diversification in our farming communities

Improving connectivity, raising awareness of the role of Arts, Culture and Non-medical solutions in Health and Well-being.

We had now produced two blogs with a reach beyond our estimated network reach of 120,000 residents.

“Development is about power – who has it – advocacy will only succeed at scale when the collective power of ordinary people is strengthened through the building of social movements and alliances. The transformational change can happen, and has, repeatedly over history.” Oxfam November 2019

  1. Visioning (what is our Vision for Herefordshire in the 21st Century) March 2019

Following the High Sherriff’s event on Social Care (with thanks), CHHH convened a meeting to agree a vision for Herefordshire. Our network will arrange an event(s) for greater citizen engagement, committed to a better future for Herefordshire. The Council, meanwhile, is revisiting its Health and Wellbeing Vision.

Next steps agreed:

  • To keep meeting.
  • To pursue and share models of good practice from elsewhere.
  • To follow up actions and partners from previous events unable to attend this event.

(Thank you to Herefordshire Rural Hub for agreeing to host our social Movement on their website from November 2019)

  1. Food, sustainability and health (An agricultural and food producing County, Food and healthy weight, Food and Brexit. The development of community hubs – an international study) May 2019

This was the first of a series of two events to engage with international research. It was well attended by citizens from Extinction Rebellion and the Brightspace Charity and the Herefordshire Diocese are progressing important work in the County. The Council has subsequently declared a Climate Change Emergency.

  1. Housing (a National and Herefordshire crisis – solutions) September 2019

Presentations from the Herefordshire Community Land Trust and from the Diocese of Herefordshire on the challenge within Herefordshire. The national crisis in housing is multiplied in rural locations. The Council are revisiting their Housing Strategy and there is ongoing engagement. 2019 coincided with the 100-year anniversary of social housing, George Clarkes council housing initiative and a step change in public debate.

Our next event will focus on trees and the environment, there will be a subsequent event on transport and its impact on Health and Wellbeing. Citizen Assemblies/ a Big Conversation(s) are anticipated in Herefordshire soon.