Sir George and Lady Young lookede in at Whitchurch Silk Mill, where the town was holding its first "Healthcheck Day" - see below.
"This was an exciting attempt to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of Whitchurch, and to engage the community in making it an even better place in which to live and work. I was interested to see the support for converting the disus ed railway into a footpath or cycleway; and for more affordable housing."
Sir George and the Mayor of Whitchurch, Barry Jackman, launched the local duck race by tipping plastic ducks in to the Test, and visited the local stalls.
"It was good to hear the the Oak Tree Nursery and Preschool is on target to open in January"
WHITCHURCH INFORMATION DAY
SATURDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2003
The healthcheck team at Whitchurch are holding an Information Day at the Silk Mill for the residents of Whitchurch. The aim is to inform people about the healthcheck process and to generate ideas, views and comments on Whitchurch. The healthcheck display will answer the questions ‘What is the healthcheck’ and ‘What are the benefits of the healthcheck project to the community’. There will be flip charts and post it stickers for people to have their say.
In order to encourage people to visit and to make the Day more appealing, local clubs and societies will be having stands and there will be a duck race for primary aged children and a ‘make a boat and see if it floats’ competition for secondary aged children.
WHAT IS A HEALTHCHECK’?
The market towns healthcheck is an initiative by the Countryside Agency” to revitalise towns, to meet the needs of local people and to provide access to a wide range of retail, leisure, professional and public services.” (Foreword, market towns healthcheck handbook.) In Hampshire, l3 towns have formally agreed to carry out a healthcheck. Only 3 have Market Town Project Officers. Whitchurch is the only town in North Hampshire to have a Project Officer to undertake the healthcheck process.
The healthcheck will look at the environmental, economic, social and transport issues affecting Whitchurch. During the healthcheck process, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to these areas will be identified.
The healthcheck process will encompass every sector of the community, from school children, businesses, service providers, voluntary groups, the public sector and the community at large.
Once the healthcheck is completed, we will be able to create a vision and an action plan for Whitchurch. The vision will encompass the future identity, function and quality of life in the town which meets the needs of its residents and the people it serves in the surrounding area. The action plan will set out projects that will assist in revitalising the town over the short, medium and long term.
THE BENEFITS OF MARKET TOWNS HEALTHCHECKS
The healthcheck involves all ages and sections of the community. The healthcheck process will enable the community to understand their strengths and weaknesses and devise a shared but achievable vision for regeneration and revitalisation.
The action plan directs resources and effort to achieving real improvements and projects. They are influential in the public authority decision making process.