Council streamlines wellbeing plan
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the 20172021 Health and Wellbeing Plan.