Coun­cil stream­lines well­be­ing plan

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The Hor­sham Ru­ral City com­mu­nity has pri­ori­tised al­co­hol and drug use and men­tal health as key ar­eas for ac­tion within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment with coun­cil staff through de­vel­op­ment of a health and well­be­ing plan for the next four years high­lighted sub­stance abuse and ac­cess to men­tal health ser­vices as is­sues of con­cern.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties for healthy eat­ing and ac­tive liv­ing were also shown to be im­por­tant to res­i­dents, fol­lowed by fam­ily vi­o­lence is­sues, ed­u­ca­tion and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The com­mu­nity rated sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health as the low­est pri­or­ity.

Coun­cil has put the 2017-2021 Health and Well­be­ing Plan out for pub­lic com­ment to en­sure the com­mu­nity has a sec­ond for­mal op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide in­put into the plan’s pri­or­i­ties and ac­tions.

The coun­cil’s com­mu­nity ser­vices di­rec­tor Kevin O’brien said com­mu­nity in­put was crit­i­cal to the de­vel­op­ment of the Health and Well­be­ing Plan.

“The re­sponse to a com­mu­nity sur­vey car­ried out last month was very en­cour­ag­ing, with 240 com­mu­nity mem­bers tak­ing part in­clud­ing many who took the time to pro­vide thought­ful and de­tailed re­sponses and sug­ges­tions,” he said.

“It is this feed­back that will en­sure the plan is rel­e­vant to the Hor­sham mu­nic­i­pal­ity and is tar­get­ing the is­sues that mat­ter to the com­mu­nity.”

Mr O’brien said some clear themes emerged from the com­mu­nity sur­vey that re-af­firmed ac­tions al­ready pro­posed and in­spired new ones.

“For ex­am­ple, there was a clear re­quest for ad­vo­cacy and in­creas­ing aware­ness of health ser­vices avail­able in the area,” he said.

“This is now re­flected in the plan with a gen­eral ad­vo­cacy ac­tion for in­creased ac­cess to health ser­vices that have a broad un­der­stand­ing of com­mu­nity needs, along with spe­cific ad­vo­cacy causes such as ad­vo­cat­ing for a fam­ily vi­o­lence sup­port and safety hub.”

Mr O’brien said there were also sev­eral com­ments about de­vel­op­ing and max­imis­ing the ru­ral city’s open spa­ces – in­clud­ing the Wim­mera River, parks, gar­dens, walk­ing and bike trails – for both ac­tive liv­ing and so­cial con­nec­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

He said these com­ments were di­rectly re­flected in the plan.

“As al­ways, with some­thing that is as big and com­plex as health and well­be­ing, we can never in­cor­po­rate all ac­tions into the plan,” he said.

“How­ever, we are en­deav­our­ing to en­sure the ac­tions that have been in­cluded are re­flec­tive of the com­mu­nity and the statis­tics we are try­ing to change.”

The over­ar­ch­ing pur­pose of the mu­nic­i­pal Health and Well­be­ing Plan is to pro­tect, im­prove and pro­mote pub­lic health and well­be­ing within Hor­sham Ru­ral City. The coun­cil will ex­hibit a draft of the plan un­til Septem­ber 19.

Peo­ple can visit the coun­cil’s web­site at www.hrcc.vic.gov.au, or mu­nic­i­pal of­fices at 18 Roberts Av­enue, Hor­sham, dur­ing busi­ness hours, to view the plan.

Writ­ten sub­mis­sions should be ad­dressed to Mr PF Brown, chief ex­ec­u­tive, HRCC, PO Box 511, Hor­sham, 3402 and must be re­ceived by 5pm on Tues­day, Septem­ber 19.

Peo­ple can call HRCC com­mu­nity and cul­tural project of­fi­cer Michelle Rethus on 5382 9509 or email michelle.rethus@hrcc.vic.gov.au for more in­for­ma­tion about the 20172021 Health and Well­be­ing Plan.

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