Mental health, loneliness and isolation are among the biggest issues facing young people according to the findings of a survey by Epping Forest District Youth Council.
Councillors and Youth Councillors discussed ideas to support young people through Covid at the latest meeting of Cabinet on 19 October.
383 young people contributed to the survey. The presentation by Youth Councillors Jamie Schooling and Bianca Nedelcu follows an earlier presentation on mental health by Stephanie Rea, Associate Director of West Essex Mental Health Services at the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust to Overview and Scrutiny Committee (O&S).
Cabinet noted a series of Youth Council recommendations including a bid for £10,000 towards the Youth Wellbeing Programme, supported by Council Leader Chris Whitbread, to be funded from the council’s existing budget.
Planning response to Government
Councillors noted Planning Portfolio Holder Nigel Bedford’s report on the Government White Paper – Planning Our Future. Councillors agreed the difficulties of balancing the competing demands of development and protecting the Green Belt. Councillor Chris Whitbread emphasised the cross-party nature of the district’s planning concerns and welcomed the opportunity for all councillors to contribute to the Council’s response in a recent workshop.
Residents can also reply to the government consultation before the 28 October deadline.
More immediate planning items covered by Cabinet included the draft sustainability guidance for the district and Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, as well as latest updates on the draft Local Plan.
New high-quality council housing was reported to Cabinet. Portfolio Holder responsible for housing, Holly Whitbread estimated 500 new council houses would have been built by the end of phase 5. Councillors welcomed a more community orientated approach to developments and the ‘Passive House’ standard reducing energy costs and climate change emissions.
Financial independence and stability is of even greater importance as Epping Forest District Council implements projects to support the district through post-Covid recovery.
Finance Portfolio Holder, John Philip, was pleased to deliver the initial outturn figures for the 2019/20 financial year before discussing the Covid-related uncertainties and challenges of the current and future years.
Covid recovery is linked with the long-term success of Qualis, the council’s wholly owned private company. Despite Covid, the strategy is working well. Cabinet Portfolio Holder Aniket Patel provided the latest monitoring update.
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