Covid recovery plan adopted for Oxfordshire

Partnerships forged between Oxfordshire’s core service providers during the Covid pandemic are set to continue in a bid to keep the region’s recovery on track.

By Andy Mitchell, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 9:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 9:52 pm

The Oxfordshire Recovery and Renewal Framework has been brought together through consulting councils, emergency and health services, businesses and major institutions including Oxford’s two universities.

The aim is to build on the way organisations came together to respond to Covid in order to protect key services and keep social life and the economy open, including through changes to the way services are delivered and the use of voluntary and community sectors, businesses and key partners.

It also wants to address the unequal impact of Covid “beyond the immediate impact on health… with a focus on the total strengths and needs of individuals and families”.

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Partnerships forged between Oxfordshire’s core service providers during the Covid pandemic are set to continue in a bid to keep the region’s recovery on track.

The plan hopes to instigate “shared economic prosperity” by ensuring access to skills training and employment focused on young people and those whose jobs have been lost, support for local employment and businesses, a push towards “green and sustainable technologies” and boosting the visitor economy.

It looks to achieve better health and wellbeing by building healthier, greener places that encourage active lifestyles and measures that include “new models of care that seek to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care”.

It also looks to establish stronger communities by “empower(ing) them to lead and to make the changes they need” to tackle issues such as loneliness, isolation and help people to access the digital world if they are currently unable to.

Cherwell District Council’s executive – the team of councillors in charge – this week agreed to adopt the plan.

Deputy leader Councillor Ian Corkin (Con, Fringford & Heyfords) recognised that “Covid remains a very real presence in our community” but that “a sustained drop in infection rates” had resulted in a “step change”.

“Our ambition is to ensure the strong operational partnership working and trusted relationships established during Covid are maintained to tackle the challenges we face in the years ahead,” he said.

“These include the direct health and economic impacts of Covid but also those issues highlighted as the pandemic went on, including the impact of social inequality on health outcomes.

“To help us organise this response, we have developed a partnership framework that sets out our shared ambitions.

“It looks at recovery, what we need to do to fix the issues created by the pandemic, and renewal, what we must change for the better having learned from our experience of the past two years.

“As a district council we have particular opportunities to contribute, and there are specific links to our economic and wellbeing priorities but more widely, working in partnership through the framework will help us keep focus on place leadership, keeping residents at the heart of the decision making process.”