Mental Health: our need for a Bigger, Fairer, Greener – and Happier – Economy

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Thought Leadership

Mental Health Week challenges us to think seriously about ourselves, our workplaces, our society – and the type of world we want to live in.

So how is CCR helping nurture healthier individuals and communities, in a region being built on liveability and inclusivity, as well as productivity?

The question couldn’t be more timely. We live in an extraordinary era, where a global pandemic has impacted the mental health of everyone, where climate change and war in Ukraine occupy our thoughts – and where many people find daily life increasingly hard, with the cost of energy and food hitting new heights, inflation at a 40-year high and property prices off the scale.

In amongst that toxic combination, each of us is challenged to some degree by the ‘new ways’ of a fourth industrial age: whether it’s dealing with scary headlines around cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, coming to terms with an increasingly ‘always-on’ world, getting used to an increasingly cashless society, or getting our heads around the huge changes happening in education and the world of work.

A new plan to meet new challenges

Our new Regional Economic and Industrial Plan (REIP) sets out our response to these challenges – with ‘wellbeing’ at the heart of the plan.

The REIP is in effect a roadmap focused on creating a more connected, resilient, inclusive and prosperous region where all our communities enjoy the best possible opportunities and outcomes – two of the essentials needed for anyone to enjoy a growth mindset and positive mental health.

That need is greater in the Cardiff Capital Region than in many other places, because the story of South East Wales is one of mixed fortunes.

As a Region, we lag behind in terms of Gross Value Add (GVA) – a key measure of prosperity and health – with Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan achieving 97.5% of the national average, in stark contrast to parts of the Northern Valleys, where GVA is just 53% of the national average.

Right across CCR, there’s an often wildly uneven distribution of wealth, opportunity, health (and even life expectancy).

The REIP is addressing this – to realise benefits for our whole population. 

Realising benefits for the good of everyone

The REIP is all about connecting people to opportunities – and committing to making every place in the Region a positive one in which to live and prosper – by accessing a richer, fairer and greener future.

The plan details how we’re stimulating the economy and healthier communities across the Region, tackling the challenges associated with declining populations in some areas, nurturing and attracting a range of ‘new’ companies that will grow employment in our key competitive clusters, and harnessing the power of partnerships forged across local political and business leadership – all with a focus on liveability and inclusivity, as well as productivity.  

It’s a plan for everyone – delivered in collaboration with local and national partners, including Local Authorities Welsh Government and UK Government – reflecting a shared ambition to increase opportunities for all, close the gaps in productivity and income; and ‘move the needle’ positively for health and wellbeing, by championing the ‘good growth’ that tackles economic disparities as well as boosting regional economic performance.    

A Region to enjoy Work, Business - and Life

Opportunity and prosperity are key factors for our mental health and general wellbeing – and we’ll be in a better place on both counts when we realise CCR’s commitment to becoming a more competitive, connected and resilient region.

The REIP demonstrates how empowering businesses within our priority sectors and public services will achieve higher levels of prosperity, nurturing new talent pools and a sustainable skills economy.

The Plan shows how investing in cutting-edge digital and physical infrastructure will grow the green economy, improve everyone’s access to transport, help local supply chains prosper, create resources that will benefit everyone in CCR – and connect our Region’s most valuable assets: our People.

It’s a strategy to maximise “Good Growth” by ensuring prosperity is shared and spread across the region – taking direct steps to reduce inequality, through interventions that include the Metro Plus scheme, the Local Wealth Building Challenge Fund, the Housing Viability Gap Fund – raising the standards of living (and mental health) for broad swathes of our population.    

Above all, it’s a plan to make our region healthier and happier, by being more connected, more competitive and more resilient – the key goals of CCR.

 

#Healthier  #Happier  #Competitive  #Connected  #Resilient

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