The event is an opportunity to look back at the performance of all partners over the preceding year and this year the focus was primarily on the pandemic and the unprecedented challenges that our communities have faced.
The gathering heard presentations from Carol Turnbull, Principal Ayrshire College - on Economy and Skills, Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain – on Safer Communities and Craig McArthur Director of Health and Social Care in respect of Wellbeing.
The scale and effectiveness of the combined response to the pandemic was fully considered and also the ongoing impact, which is continuing to be felt by communities and businesses in East Ayrshire, and the importance of a robust renewal and recovery plan.
The impact of the pandemic on families, who had already been struggling, and the need for a continued partnership focus on work to address child poverty and the wider inequalities in our society, formed a significant part of the event.
Depute Provost Sally Cogley, who chaired the event, said: “The annual Joint Engagement event is an invaluable opportunity for elected members, officers from the Council and our Community Planning Partners to join together and really look at the issues that face our communities and to recognise the importance of partnership working.
“Partnership working has been central to our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the reports that we received today illustrated the range of activity that has been taken forward collectively over the last year. They also reflected the central role that our communities have played in that response and the resilience that they continue to demonstrate in the face of these ongoing challenges.”
“We are under no illusions about the continuing impact of the pandemic in our communities and we will continue to direct the full range of our partnership resources to address these challenges in future – the child poverty data and future projections that we heard today were particularly stark. We will redouble our efforts to work in partnership to address these challenges in our future renewal and recovery work.”
Reflecting on performance during the previous year, some very positive results from partnership working were highlighted at the event including:
Looking forward, the new, shared strategic priorities for 2021-24, identified in the recent Community Plan Review, were recognised. These priorities originate from our wider ambition to see the residents and communities of East Ayrshire prosper and will be central to our ongoing partnership recovery from the pandemic in the years ahead. They will focus on maximising the benefits from the Ayrshire Growth Deal for everyone in East Ayrshire communities, and supporting delivery of the Caring for Ayrshire Transformational Change Programme.