The silver lining of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the powerful reminder that Cambridge is a strong and compassionate community. Disadvantage wears many faces, and across our city, we see great disparity in health, educational, social, occupational and economic outcomes.
The council’s response to this must be equally multi-faceted and should consider more factors than wealth.
Liberal Democrats will develop a city-wide community wellbeing strategy, to address all forms of disadvantage. This will consider a broader range of factors that contribute to our overall sense of happiness; including safety, health, sense of purpose and connection to our communities. It will draw on real leverage the council has through its core services to make a sustainable impact and provide the basis for expanded integrated working with other public services.
To support our community wellbeing strategy, we will launch a periodic residents’ wellbeing survey to monitor these factors, and generate information to identify the areas for emphasis within areas under our control and for collaboration with or ownership by others.
The focus of council interventions, beyond its core services and foundation enablers such as Citizens Advice and Voluntary Service support, will be the nurturing and empowering of community capacity and seeding sustainable social enterprise. We plan to engage with Cambridge-based businesses to form a Cambridge Community Cohesion Fund to improve opportunities in our city, in line with our wellbeing targets.
As an early initiative, we would like to encourage the development of community childcare provision, as a means of both enabling more parents to return to work and generating work opportunities for providers.
All residents feeling personally safe is a vital feature of an inclusive city and we are committed to work with the Police and the Community Safety Partnership to maintain this. An immediate priority will be assurance of a trusted and empathetic route for reporting of oppressive social crimes of harassment, intimidation, domestic abuse and hate crime especially for women and minorities. In the public realm we are keen to explore interventions ranging from enhancement of ‘Ask for Angela’ to improved street lighting.
Through the Liberal Democrats the council will set a public standard for respecting the needs and rights of those with the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation – and for embracing the diversity they represent in our Cambridge community. Our core services must respond to this, for example by progressively providing gender-neutral public toilets.
It is important there are no more instances like the failed policy of charging for the council’s Shopmobility service. In managing resources, we will always protect the interests of the most vulnerable.