Our plans for a better Somerset West and Taunton

How we will enhance the quality of life, health, and wellbeing

The Somerset West and Taunton area is home to a large and growing older population among whom loneliness and isolation often undermine quality of life. Isolation can also affect the quality of life and opportunities for young people and families who lack private transport.

We will work with organisations and community groups to identify how the council can help reduce social isolation and promote mental health.

We will:

  • Help promote public health initiatives to encourage more active lifestyles and healthy eating.
  • Liaise with and lobby local GPs to optimise their use of social prescribing.
  • Signpost local organisations that provide practical help and support, such as credit unions and village agents.
  • Encourage community activities.
  • Promote and implement measures to improve the Somerset West and Taunton environment and local transport (see section below).

Shared experiences such as music, theatre, films, arts and crafts and local sporting events help to bring communities together and are important in fostering inclusion and wellbeing.

We will:

  • Support opportunities for people of all ages and in rural as well as urban communities to participate in and develop creative and sporting activities and skills.
  • Support access to library provision in all parts of Somerset West and Taunton.

How we will invest in our children and young people

After years of freezing Council Tax the Conservatives at County Hall have cut services for children and young people to the bone. Many of our children who need it are without support from professional youth workers. A Labour-led council will appoint a cabinet member for young people to ensure young people’s voices are listened to.

We will:

  • Host an annual ‘Young People’s Forum’ bringing together young people and organisations that work with them in order to identify and develop practical action plans to address priority needs.
  • Establish a Youth Council elected by forum members to scrutinise and advise the new Somerset West and Taunton council on policies that will enable young people to flourish.
  • Invest in and extend key prevention and support services for children, young adults and families such as the One Teams, and lobby the County Council to reinstate the original family support service ‘GetSet’.
  • Raise social mobility and aspiration by extending the work of the Opportunities Areas programme.

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