Wellbeing is an increasingly common term that can describe wider conditions than good physical and mental health, which we need as individual and communities to have a better quality of life, a healthier environment and increased prosperity. Some of these are things that we can easily measure, like the number of pre-school places, or the speed with which an ambulance can get to a sick person. Others are less easily measured, such as our pride of place, our heritage and the way in which we all look after each other. All aspects of wellbeing are connected to each other.
Supports have been provided to all PPNs to develop a Vision of Community Wellbeing. This follows pilot projects in Longford, Roscommon, Wicklow and Cork City during 2018. You, as the Sligo PPN members, are asked to develop this during 2019/2020.
Most of you will have heard of the National Planning Framework 2040 plan and some of you will have raised concerns about the lack of focus on rural counties like Sligo.. As a PPN we would like to capture all elements of a community’s wellbeing not just employment and infrastructure although these are both vital parts of building and maintaining a strong community.
Under this programme we will look at community wellbeing under the same headings; social and community development; environment and sustainability; work, economy and resources; health; values, culture and meaning; and participation, democracy and good governance. By using these 6 headings across all the country, we can see whether we in County Sligo have the same concerns and causes for celebration as others. This community wellbeing Initiative is being run in conjunction with Social Justice Ireland, Irish Environmental Network and The Environmental Pillar.
What is Community Wellbeing?
The Vision for Community Wellbeing acts as a guiding vision for everything done by the network. It’s a benchmark for PPN Representatives and the Secretariat – feeding into policy decisions and planning activities. It’s a shared vision for the well-being of our communities for this and future generations.
Personal wellbeing is defined as when our “basic needs are met, …people have a sense of purpose, … they feel able to achieve important goals, to participate in society and to live the lives that they value and have reason to value” (National Economic and Social Council, 2009). It’s also directly linked to physical and mental health.
So, a community with high wellbeing would be one where all people have:
- a strong sense of belonging and identity;
- opportunities to work individually and together for the common good;
- are able to support each other through different life stages;
- access the services they need;
- live in a positive environment;
- and are able to participate in the making the decisions that affect them.
Since our actions have impacts for the future, this involves considering the wellbeing of future generations as well as ourselves.
Who is the Community?
A community equals people living in the same area or a “community of interest” e.g. young people, disabled people, hillwalkers etc. PPNs must consider all types of communities when developing the Vision.
The Model We Use
Social & Community Development
How can we be an inclusive community where we support each other and ensure no one is left out? What are the important social services and facilities we need to live well from childhood to old age?
Environment & Sustainability
How do we value our natural environment and man-made heritage? What can be done to conserve, protect and restore these? How can we interact with the environment in a sustainable way, and hand it on to the next generation in a better state?
Work, Economy & Resources
How can our communities thrive economically, with good jobs, and supports for enterprise, business and for people not in work? What resources do we have and are they used effectively and sustainably without causing harm to social and environmental sustainability?
How can all members of our community enjoy the best possible physical and mental health? What about people with special needs, older people, and carers?
Values, Culture & Meaning
What is needed to ensure that everyone both feels, and actually is, included and valued, and that our different values and cultures are respected and nurtured? What are the important parts of our culture that we want to hand on to future generations?
Participation, Democracy & Good Governance
What is necessary to ensure that our local government structures support the wellbeing of our community for this and future generations? What is necessary to ensure that we have a voice in the decisions that affect us and that all voices are being heard?
A Vision for Community Wellbeing – Why and What?
Pros and Cons