Monday, 22 September 2008

I started the day at the Narrowing the Gap Board at the Hamara Healthy Living Centre...

Irene Lucas, Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council, talked about the journey she had been on over the last seven years guiding South Tyneside from problem authority to somewhere with a mission to deliver great services and providing voice and choice for its communities and individuals. Irene has placed well-being and innovation at the heart of this small authority.

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."

Well-being, happiness and culture have shaped their big initiatives:
  • positive parenting;
  • emotional resilience;
  • guaranteed apprenticeships;
  • reducing depression;
  • reducing financial exclusion;
  • reducing isolation of older people;
  • neighbourhood working;
  • sense of place.
Irene talked about the importance of a Total Partnership approach where 'people will innovate if they are allowed to.' A whole system approach releasing the potential of everyone... because they are worth it!

Irene's passion, commitment and energy has clearly transformed South Tyneside... and I am sure that we can learn a lot from what their focus on well-being, happiness and culture.

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