Working Together on health issues

PUBLISHED: 09:47 23 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:55 23 October 2015

Councillor Jill Elson.

Councillor Jill Elson.

Archant

The work of voluntary groups in Sidmouth and East Devon has been praised by district bosses.

East Devon District Council held its annual Working Together for the Future of East Devon event, which was attended by around 100 representatives from voluntary and community groups.

Councillor Jill Elson (pictured), cabinet member for sustainable homes and communities, who was responsible for organising the event, which broadly aims to improve communications between the voluntary and statutory sectors, said she was delighted with the high level of attendance from the groups, and town and parish councils.

The event was also attended by East Devon MP Hugo Swire and Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish.

Cllr Elson said: “This year’s Working Together theme focused on keeping well, and covered mental, as well as physical health issues.

“With as many as one in five young people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, the mental well-being of our East Devon residents is a matter of great concern to us.

“Dementia, too, is a serious issue and it is shocking to know that 300 people in the Sid Valley alone have an official dementia diagnosis.

“I am so pleased that this year’s Working Together event has brought together so many local agencies and organisations, which are all passionate about providing such a high level of support and who are focused on improving the quality of the lives of our residents.”

Mr Swire said: “We have so many fantastic voluntary and community organisations in East Devon, but I have often found that there is so much potential for these groups to work together more effectively. This excellent annual event enables these different groups to come together and work together for the benefit of everyone in East Devon.

“I was especially pleased that mental health and dementia formed the theme of this year’s event. These issues pose great challenges, but in East Devon we are fortunate enough to have a number individuals and organisations committed to working alongside the Government to improve the lives of vulnerable people.”

Speakers at the event included Wendy Weidner, of Dementia UK, Rachel Johnstone, of Sid Valley Memory Café, Debbie Humberstone, from The Project, Tim Tod and Ros Arscott, of Young Devon, and Dr Anthony Hemsley, of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation.

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