The Sustainability Lab shaping brighter futures

Well-being priorities for North West Wales

Blogs, From the Director's Chair - Einir's Blog

by Dr. Einir Young

On July 13th 2016 the Sustainability Lab hosted a meeting at Bangor University for the Future Generations Commissioner and her team. The event was part of a Wales-wide series held by the Commissioner. The report from those meetings has been published, giving a summary of priorities identified by the people of Wales.

You can find a summary of the views of the people of North West Wales on page 13.

The hot topics that emerged in this area are well-known to all of us:

  • Employment and deprivation – we need more high value jobs to retain our skilled youth and to entice those who have left to return; poverty and isolation are an issue, another is the impact out of town retail outlets have on the viability of town centres (but it is so much more convenient and cheaper to park at out of town shops…)
  • Health inequalities. Experiences of the health service differ, early years are critical, the legacy of adverse childhood experiences can last a lifetime, there’s a need for better access to childcare and the symptoms and causes of childhood obesity (and the general population) need to be tackled.
  • Community and culture. The link between community, culture and our natural resources were highlighted and the positive interaction between all three need to be recognised more widely. A house is more than four walls made of bricks – a well-designed house can contribute towards mental and physical well-being. Likewise language and culture are important and safe community spaces are needed to promote this. Safe outdoor space for playing and physical activity are essential

Communication and learning together about the Act

Did you know that Bangor University has adopted the Act, the goals and the ways of working promoted by the act as a framework to help us work towards being a sustainable university for current and future generations?

One of the challenges for Welsh Government, the Commissioner and all of us is that there is not blue print to follow. It is i up to all of us to reflect on the principles and to work together to consider the following:

  • What are our long term aspirations and plans?
  • How can we act to prevent things from getting worse, or better still, how can we work to make sure that things get better?
  • How do we integrate the things we do to ensure that the well-being goals listed in the Act are realised – every one of them not the cherry picked few?
  • How do we truly collaborate with each other? Do we really know the meaning of the word, or are we too busy feathering our own nests or engaged in a pointless competition with others over limited resources?
  • Who should be involved?

I suggest that everyone with an interest in making sure that we are living in a cohesive community that’s more prosperous, more resilient, healthier, more equal, where our Welsh language and culture is open to everyone and globally responsible should get together to make it happen. And to work out HOW to make it happen.

Undeb Bangor has an amazing initiative called #Together We… It has echoes of the Welsh Team’s mantra #TogetherStronger.

And that’s the only way to succeed – #Forward-Together!

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