Manchester City Council

Three Steps Forward

The quarterly meeting of the Manchester Partnership Board took place yesterday bringing together representatives from policing, health, transport, faith groups, and the Council along with a number of independent board members to oversee the work of partners to deliver the Manchester community Strategy.

The board has set three priorities for the current year - growing the economy, tackling worklessness, and raising aspirations. The agenda included a progress report against these priorities which, in these difficult economic times made even more difficult by the scale of public sector cuts, gave at least some grounds for optimism. From Airport City in the far south of Manchester through to the Sharp Project in the north, the large number of major economic projects underway in the city is a welcome contrast to the overall economic gloom in the UK.

We are improving skill levels, significantly increasing apprenticeships, and although the number of people on job seekers allowance is going up, there appears to be a decline in the total number of people claiming out of work benefits. The aspiration workstream has two elements at the moment. One is a headteacher led approach to building pupil resilience in our schools. This builds on work done a couple of years ago as part of a national pilot, and is now going on to evolve a Manchester model from the work done then. Building children's coping skills, particularly for those with difficult family backgrounds, has been shown to improve their educational performance and as a consequence their life chances. The other workstream is a community-based approach to improving health through health trainers. The trainers are recruited from local communities to work within those communities, a peer-to-peer way of getting health on people's agenda and developing healthier lifestyles. Small examples of how, even in hard times, Manchester is contiuing to set a positive agenda and to move forwards.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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