Jobs and Income
It is difficult to imagine a sustained improvement in any of the other areas we have identified in the absence of an amelioration of the current extremely difficult economic and employment situation in Par, Tywardreath and St Blazey. We recognise that to a very large extent we, like everyone else, remain prey to the vagaries of the national and international economic climate. We nevertheless see a local improvement as a sine qua non. We have therefore sought to identify ways in which Big Local money might be put to effective use.
With this in mind, we propose to encourage the development of projects that will:
Improve the economic base of the area;
Support established local businesses, since these have already demonstrated a commitment to our area;
Encourage the creation of new jobs and businesses;
Do the above in ways that help encourage and support local investment and reinvestment.
Though a million pounds is a good deal of money, we must acknowledge that even a sum such as this, spread over a ten year period, if invested in property would have a very modest impact on the current shortage of affordable local housing. Nor, in our view, ought it to be the job of the Big Local to take on this role. It is the responsibility of others, including central and regional government and housing associations to find solutions to these problems. Our involvement needs to be innovative rather than over-ambitious. We can nevertheless help make a difference, inter alia by encouraging the development of projects that will:
Empower local individuals and residents’ groups effectively to impress upon the authorities their housing concerns and ambitions
Help efforts to improve the quality of the existing housing stock
Work for the reduction of fuel poverty
And do all of these, to the extent possible, in ways that can help regenerate money both within the local community and back to the Big Local for recycling
Our area is disadvantaged in many respects relating to health. Average life expectancy, for example is substantially lower than that even for neighbouring areas. St Blazey has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Cornwall. Partly because some parts of the area have higher than average numbers of retired people, there are also particular stresses on the health service. And poverty plays its part in exacerbating problems concerning healthy diet and (access to) exercise. In terms of the provision of health facilities, we have two (excellent) GP surgeries in our area, but no NHS dentist. Both doctors’ surgeries are geographically distant from some quite heavily populated parts of our area.
Our nearest NHS Accident and Emergency Department is at Treliske Hospital on the far outskirts of Truro; some 45 minutes away – on a good day. Ambulance and Paramedic services, with the (daytime) air ambulance service, help balance what would otherwise be a worrying situation. There are (daytime) minor injury units at St Austell and Fowey (each about 5 miles distant).
Against this background, we propose to support projects that will:
Help local people to ensure that their voices are heard in discussions about the provision of local health services
Help overcome any difficulties over access to health services because of age, disability or lack of transport
Encourage activities that can lead to improved health and healthier diets
Encourage a generally more rewarding and contented life for those who might seek this
We have the good fortune to live in one of Britain’s most attractive counties. We have a large, sandy beach, some sizeable green spaces and enjoy some picturesque views. Our industrial heritage has had the effect of hiding these benefits to some extent from visitors, who have chosen instead to visit parts of the county more frequently associated with tourism.
The changing nature of our local economy, the continued expansion and success of the Eden Project, the imminent development at Carlyon Bay (some of which falls within our area) and the proposed development of Par Docks into a marina with related facilities all provide us with an opportunity to enhance our existing environment and to create new facilities for our own use, and for visitors.
While we do have many attractive areas, there remain some that would benefit from a facelift. We would therefore be keen to support:
Schemes designed to improve the tidiness, cleanliness and general uplift of common areas throughout our designated region
Schemes to create new, sustainable, common green spaces
Projects designed to make our common areas accessible to all
And to do these things in ways that make them as sustainable and energy efficient as possible and that further strengthen the sense of community ownership and pride in their heritage
Youth and Family
It is, of course, a truism that our youth are our future. But we should nevertheless be failing in our responsibilities if in preparing our vision statement we should overlook this fact, or pay it no more than lip service. Notwithstanding the economic and social disadvantages in our area, we are blessed with many young people who are articulate, positive, ambitious and have a sense of community. Many of them are, as would be expected, well supported by other members of their families.
We will address the opportunities available to them for recreation under that heading. Under this heading, it is possibly sufficient to record our determination to support:
Proposals that enable the voice of our young people to be heard clearly in the development of all projects supported by our Big Local project
Projects where young people are encouraged and enabled to take the lead, with support from others as necessary – but not imposed
Proposals which help develop inter-generational contact and understanding
An informal audit of the recreational facilities in our area shows that there exists already a remarkable variety of these: from football and cricket clubs to good athletics facilities, youth clubs, community centres and a number of specialist groups and organisations. Our fellow residents, however, retain a strong appetite for more, and for the improvement and extension of many existing facilities.
While many think in terms of sporting or social activities, there is also a demand for more in the way of what might broadly be termed cultural facilities: more community or seasonal events, the development/creation of facilities such as local radio services, the better to inform local residents and to keep them in touch with one another and with events and activities available to them.
The potential scope for project funding here is virtually infinite. We would propose, however, to concentrate support for:
The development of projects to enhance and expand existing successful facilities
Projects that will not demand an undue level of expensive maintenance and running costs
Innovative projects to bring the communities together across the generations
Projects that might secure additional funding from other sources
Projects designed to increase awareness of the existing local heritage
Projects that inform and enthuse, as well as those that stimulate mental and physical fitness
The annex to this paper contains an illustrative selection of more detailed ideas for projects. These have arisen largely from our consultations to date. We are confident that other, no less worthy ideas will emerge as this ten-year project proceeds.