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A new partnership, designed to improve the health and welfare of people living in North Somerset, has been signed....
A new partnership, designed to improve the health and welfare of people living in North Somerset, has been signed.

North Somerset Council and Avon Health Authority will enter into a formal agreement, the first of its kind in area, to make sure there is a joint approach to health and welfare in the area.

The partnership will bring together the council's Community Pride strategy with the AHA's health improvement programme to bring a more co-ordinated approach to services.

'Public services can no longer afford to work to their own agendas,' said North Somerset Council leader Nan Kirsen. 'The local community will, I am sure benefit from, what we believe to be the most comprehensive joint approach to health and welfare between a council and a health authority.'

The partnership will introduce a series of initiatives in the next twelve months that will be of direct benefit to local people.

The range of services provided by the council for people with learning disabilities will be widened to include supported accommodation in the community, better employment and day activities.

One of the main joint priorities is to bid for lottery funding for a Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville Estate in Weston-super-Mare.

A team, led by a new consultant child psychiatrist and based at the Weston Area Health Trust, will be set up to deal with child and adolescent mental health services.

Funding is to be provided to the West of England Coalition of Disabled People to provide a specialist rehabilitation service for people in North Somerset.

Work has also begun on a campaign to avoid young people becoming homeless. A teacher's pack, a video and leaflet are being prepared.

Pamela Charlwood, chief executive of Avon Health Authority said: 'This is the first formal working agreement that Avon Health Authority has made with a local authority in its area and it marks a new way of working. We know that people's health depends on where they live, whether they have jobs and opportunities for leisure, as well as what the NHS can do.

'We believe this formal agreement and our joint commitment to develop closer working links will result in improved health and welfare for the people of North Somerset,' she added.

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