The East Riding of Yorkshire Council Leader's column with Stephen Parnaby OBE
When an organisation is responsible for running hundreds of different services, it's inevitable it will have an impact on people's lives in a variety of ways.
Whether it’s bin collections, road repairs, business support, education, care services or any of the other 600-plus services East Riding of Yorkshire Council provides, people will come into contact with the council and its staff one way or another, day in, day out.
I’m extremely proud of the jobs our employees do under difficult circumstances, with ever-tightening budgets from continued central Government austerity.
Our workforce is dedicated to providing the highest possible quality of services to residents, businesses and local communities and the council as an organisation is equally committed to making sure the East Riding remains a fantastic place to live, work and visit.
I’m particularly proud of the fact that, unlike many other local authorities, East Riding of Yorkshire Council took a long-term approach to the economic downturn nearly 10 years ago and, by avoiding knee-jerk reactions and thanks to successful financial planning, we have managed to continue investing heavily in infrastructure and services.
That is probably best highlighted by the fantastic leisure centres the council runs, facilities which are the envy of many authorities around the country.
I can’t imagine there are many – if any – better leisure centres anywhere in the country than East Riding Leisure Bridlington, with its superb facilities and the stunning views its location offers.
The £25 million has been money extremely well spent when you consider the part it plays in attracting visitors to the resort and, even more importantly, the positive impact it is having on the health and wellbeing of residents.
We firmly believe that spending multi-millions of pounds across our 10 leisure centres is crucial to improving the quality of life of thousands of residents across the East Riding, now and for many years to come.
It’s not just about investing money either.
We’ve taken an innovative approach to the way our leisure and public health services work together for the benefit of residents.
They have collaborated on a variety of schemes, supported by GPs and specialist health teams, which help large numbers of people recover from serious illness, reduce the risk of them suffering life-threatening conditions and become generally healthier and fitter.
As well as the best possible equipment and top-class facilities, we offer expert training and support to get people’s health on track.
We have a range of lifestyle change programmes which every day are helping people in all sorts of ways, from losing weight, becoming fitter and overcoming mental health issues.
If you have been on one of these schemes, I’m sure you’d testify to how beneficial they can be.
I’ve heard many amazing and heart-warming stories from young and old alike and I can’t speak highly enough of these health initiatives.
The leisure centres – and the people who are using them to transform their lives – are something to be very proud of.