Vibrant and healthy communities
Thriving communities outcome: vibrant and healthy communities with inclusive, leisure, heritage and culture
Natural Health Service
The Council has supported the Natural Health Service in the borough, developed and managed by The Mersey Forest, a partnership of councils, landowners, businesses and communities looking after woodland and green spaces across Cheshire and Merseyside. The Natural Health Service builds on growing evidence that activities in the natural environment can improve health and encourages residents to use our woodlands and green spaces to help boost their physical health and mental wellbeing. More than 2,000 participants take part in the Natural Health Service, one of the largest community-led programmes to date contributing to UK policy and international academic research. In December 2018, Cheshire’s Natural Health Service was a finalist for the Association for Public Service Excellence’s (APSE) Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative.
Tree and woodland strategy
A new tree and woodland strategy was adopted with the aim of improving the quality and quantity of the borough’s trees and woodland. Working in partnership with The Mersey Forest team, the Council is ensuring all trees and woodland are consistently monitored, managed and replaced when required. The value of woodland is being promoted within the community through consultation, education and participation. We are also supporting the creation of a Northern Forest, which will see thousands of new trees being planted across the north of England as part of the Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment.
Healthy weight declaration
In February 2019 the Council adopted Food Active’s Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight, confirming our commitment to promoting healthy weight and improving the health and wellbeing of residents. Before signing the declaration, 39 schools had signed up to the Smile for a Mile campaign, which includes 8,240 pupils and 472 teachers in the borough walking, jogging or running a mile a day. The Give Up Loving Pop campaign, launched in schools in January 2019, helped raise awareness of the impact of sugary drinks which can result in weight gain, tooth decay, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The Council is currently working towards the declaration’s commitments and promoting active travel across the borough.
Purple Flag status
After the city of Chester secured Purple Flag status in February 2018, the Council has continued to work with partners, including Chester’s Business Improvement District (CH1ChesterBID), Cheshire Police, Chester Pubwatch, the University of Chester and several third sector groups, to build upon this success. Purple Flag status recognises the offer of an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
Further developments include the introduction of Chester Safe Space, which provides medical assistance, help, advice, signposting and support for anyone on a night out in the city. From September 2018 to March 2019, more than 200 members of the public used Safe Space, with the service helping reduce the impact on the emergency services.
Drink Less Enjoy More campaign
Stronger links have been formed with the University of Chester and Chester Races to promote the Drink Less Enjoy More campaign, helping to reduce anti-social behaviour linked to excessive alcohol consumption. A 2018-19 report showed that alcohol sales were down by nine per cent between November 2017 and February 2018, and the purchase of alcohol for people already drunk reduced by more than 17 per cent. Chester Pride also supported the campaign, providing coverage in their guide and use of promotional materials at the event.
Drink Less Enjoy More
Neston Recreation Centre
Neston Recreation Centre re-opened following the first major investment in the centre since it opened in 1974. The £2.5 million improvements include a new fitness studio, improved swimming changing rooms, new gym equipment and reception area.
Winsford Town Park
Winsford Town Park opened after a £900,000 reconstruction. In a joint project with Winsford Town Council, the Council’s Total Environment team redesigned and transformed the area into an attractive open space with new facilities, including a children’s play area, multi-use games area, wildlife ponds and viewing platform plus new pathways to link the park with Winsford Cross and the flashes. Thousands of bulbs and plants were planted and a series of sculptures designed by public artist Liam Hopkins to celebrate the town’s historic salt industry.
Cultural Services team works with more than 150 volunteers and, in 2018-19, the Prime Minister recognised one of our volunteers, Nigel Meyrick, from Chester, for curating exhibitions to make sure the First World War is not forgotten.
The Lion Salt Works, in Northwich, featured on Channel 4’s Great Canal Journeys, presented by actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales and their son, Sam West. Professor Alice Roberts filmed with the Grosvenor Museum for an episode of Britain’s Most Historic Towns, which featured Roman Chester.
LGBT History Month
Weaver Hall Museum celebrated LGBT History Month with an exhibition and film festival organised by Silver Rainbows, a social network for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Cheshire.
Prejudice to Pride project
The Prejudice to Pride project, working with Body Positive Cheshire and North Wales, was selected by the National Archives as one of six projects nationally that demonstrated the relevance and value of archives to people. The touring exhibition celebrated LGBT history in Cheshire.
International sculpture exhibition
An international sculpture exhibition of work by Michael Sandle welcomed 29,548 visitors from six continents during its run at the Grosvenor Museum.
Corporate Partnership Scheme
The Grosvenor Museum launched a Corporate Partnership Scheme to enable businesses to support the museum to care for its collections, develop exhibitions and share Chester’s culture and history with residents and visitors.
NOW Northwich - Expect the Unexpected, a new creative arts event, attracted huge audiences to see international street arts performers.
Library events included Health Information Week, Get Online Week, Adult Learning Week, Fun Palaces, World Book Night, World Book Day, and Libraries Week. Our Library Service in Storyhouse won the Guardian’s Public Service Awards, a prestigious national award run by the Guardian newspaper. Other projects included investment in Northwich Library, which saw a mini refurbishment and the installation of self-serve stations, and upgrading our Education Library Service mobile library, which now visits schools in four council areas. Our Summer Reading Challenge - Mischief Makers - saw 5,165 children taking part and reading six books or more during the school holidays.
Equality and diversity
We funded voluntary and community organisations to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. This included The Anne Frank Trust working in many of our schools to challenge prejudice and discrimination, Deafness Support Network training hundreds of people across the borough in basic deaf awareness, The Proud Trust training teachers and other professionals about sexual orientation and gender identity and The Unity Centre, West Cheshire’s multicultural hub, providing a range of services to our diverse communities.
We supported or funded events or activities to encourage equality, diversity and inclusion across the Council and within the community.
- Diwali - the Indian Festival of Lights
- Chinese New Year
- Holocaust Memorial Day
- Interfaith Week
- Remembering Srebrenica
- International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
- International Women’s Day
- We supported Blacon Mosque to hold its first democratic election of its Executive Committee.
We are committed to ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion are an integral part of our internal culture, as well as our community.
- We maintained our accreditation at the highest ‘Excellent Level’ of the Equality Framework for Local Government - an award only 20 local authorities in the country hold.
- We achieved the highest Disability Confident Leader status.
- The Council runs two successful staff networks - Disability Friends, which has around 40 members, and LGBT Friends, which has around 200 members.
- Hundreds of Council staff attended half-day equality and diversity workshops, delivered by volunteer colleagues.
- We support Chester Pride each year with, this year, more than 100 staff and members participating in the parade. Many Council services are represented in the Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle Zone and other parts of the event, including Fostering and Adoption, Libraries and Children’s Services.
Brio Leisure, a community interest company wholly-owned by the Council, manages and operates our leisure centres and entertainment spaces. Brio’s 2018-19 achievements include:
- more than 2.7 million visits to leisure centres
- 173,000 visits to entertainment and civic hall events
- cafe improvements at Winsford Lifestyle Centre and the installation of Changing Places toilets, accessible toilets with extra equipment and space
- providing more than 250 drug, alcohol and sexual health interventions
- being selected to showcase its model in the Parliamentary Review publication
- delivering more than 10,000 health interventions to help residents stop smoking, lose weight and access physical activity as part of the Integrated Wellness offer.