Welcome to the Blackpool Fairness Commission’s website.
I have been the Chairman of Blackpool Fairness Commission since the summer of 2013. I am often asked to Chair different groups and obviously I can’t agree to them all. I was very happy to take up the Chairmanship of Blackpool Fairness Commission however because I passionately believe in what we are trying to achieve – a fairer Blackpool for everyone, where people feel connected and supported to achieve their full potential.
As Director of Public Health, I understand the impact of poverty, social isolation, loneliness and a lack of hope and aspiration on the health and wellbeing of our communities. I see day to day the effects of these social ills on the health and happiness of our residents and in turn the strain that creates on services such as Health and Social Care. In Blackpool, particularly, due to the transient nature of our population we have a particular challenge with disparate communities, where robust social networks are lacking and people become isolated, lonely and unhappy. Equally, in the inner wards, we have an abundance of poor quality accommodation and seasonal work which in itself limits the opportunities and life chances of those living there.
Whilst other Fairness Commission’s across the Country, have mainly focussed on financial equality – campaigning for the Living Wage as an example, in Blackpool we recognise that only forms part of our picture. For us, building a sense of community to reduce social isolation and loneliness is the key to creating stronger and more resilient communities. We are working hard to deliver projects which will help to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those who struggle to make ends meet. Our plans for a Community Farm and Community Shop will help to:
• Provide opportunities to gain new skills and improve employment prospects
• Offer opportunities for volunteering which will help to combat loneliness and social isolation
• Provide opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, resulting in a more active lifestyle which will benefit health
• Provide affordable, quality food on the doorstep in one of our most deprived communities
• Provide budgeting, cook & eat sessions and nutritional support to help people make the most of the opportunities these projects present
It has taken time for the Fairness Commission to identify the projects where it can have the biggest impact and I am very proud of the journey we have been on over the last two years to get us to this point. A journey which has seen us move from lots of talking about what needs to happen to creating a structure which has allowed us to identify our priorities and galvanise into action those with the skills and enthusiasm to drive these projects forward.
With the help of Edge Hill University, we have taken a long hard look at ourselves; we have identified our strengths and will build on those. We have created a leaner more effective structure which will allow us to deliver ambitious and life changing projects for the people of Blackpool.
I am very grateful for the support of all my colleagues on the Fairness Commission Board, people who all have other competing priorities but who tirelessly make the time to drive these projects forward, using their skills and knowledge to ensure we are delivering quality, sustainable projects which will result in long-term change for Blackpool.
This website has been designed to provide a window into the soul of Blackpool Fairness Commission; I hope you are inspired by what you see.
Dr Arif Rajpura
Chairman/Director of Public Health