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Alun Pugh, assembly member for Clwyd West, set out proposals for a new concept in Wales which will put communities ...
Alun Pugh, assembly member for Clwyd West, set out proposals for a new concept in Wales which will put communities at the centre of action to tackle social exclusion.

Addressing the Chartered Institute of Housing in Wales branch conference he set out the key points of the national assembly's strategy on health, 'Better health, better Wales'.

Acknowledging the link between health and housing he referred to the level of unfit housing in Wales with 98,000 homes failing to meet standards of fitness he stated that poor housing was one of the underlying causes of ill health.

He also stressed the damage that a poor environment can do to the health of the community, the impact of crime, noise, lack of play facilities all result in an unhealthy and worsening situation. More evidence is needed to identify the links and the national Assembly will be commissioning research to identify the evidence to back up future plans for intervention.

Using the conference to announce what he called 'ground breaking proposals' he explained that a consultation document will be issued over the next week called communities first. This document will seek views on a new approach that will place the emphasis on partnerships and community involvement.

The national assembly is keen to recognise the good work that has been done by local authorities, voluntary agencies and other bodies in the past and wants to build on existing success. However, communities first aims to tackle the shortcomings of past regeneration schemes by simplifying the variety of funding streams and involving the community right from the start.

Communities first will be targeted at the poorest communities and will not be prescriptive. It will be concerned with what can be achieved and not how it is achieved and will contribute to the national assembly's aim of an innovative, inclusive, equitable and sustainable Wales explained Mr Pugh.

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