Professor Chris Whitty visits South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness

Date posted: 13th May 2022

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, visited South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness in April to find out more about the rural and coastal communities, some of the organisations supporting them and their response during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Professor Whitty met with Colin Cox, Director of Public Health and the Senior Public Health teams in South Lakeland and Barrow to find out more about the challenges each area is facing including local government reorganisation, Cumbria’s Covid response and substance misuse in Barrow. He also met colleagues from Cumbria County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Coach services who support people to develop their knowledge, skills, and confidence to become active participants in their care.

Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, Cumbria County Council, said: “We were delighted to welcome Professor Chris Whitty to South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness to find out about the challenges facing our rural and coastal communities. 

“It was really important that the organisations working very closely with local communities had the opportunity to talk to Professor Whitty about the importance of their services, their experiences of supporting local people and the strength of local partnerships and how they responded during the Covid pandemic.” 

The Resilience Group spoke with Professor Whitty about their approach in South Lakeland which has grown from Community Flood Planning into a much wider resilience and support infrastructure that played a crucial role during pandemic and also supports rural anti-poverty work. 

Cara Stride, Development Lead for Kendal Integrated Care Community (ICC), said: "Hearing all of the partners from the South Lakes Resilience Groups speak with such passion and enthusiasm, made me feel proud to be part of the team. Chris Whitty himself said he was ‘really inspired’. The wide range projects that we have completed together across organisations has been extraordinary. It was a pleasure to meet everyone in person after all our virtual meetings but listening to everyone's reflection of the Covid pandemic recovery efforts was incredible. We will continue to work together for our communities."

As part of his visit, Professor Whitty took a tour of Barrow and the local environment to get a sense of the diversity across the area. He also met with a variety of local organisations. They included Waste into Wellbeing, South Lakes Citizen’s Advice, Cumbria Community Foundation, Kendal and Barrow ICCs, Growing Well, Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, Barrow Borough Council, The Well Communities, Spring Mount Community Hub, Walney Community Trust, the Archdeacon of Westmorland and Furness and the Headteacher of George Romney Junior School, Dalton.

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