Organisations in Derby have decided to pool their efforts in trying to tackle the differences and inequalities of people’s experience of life in the city.
Derby’s local economy has proved resilient through recession and the challenges of austerity. The UK Powerhouse report in January this year said Derby had the third fastest growing city economy in the UK. With the global headquarters for Rolls-Royce and UK headquarters for Bombardier Transportation and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, Derby’s economic strength is forecast to remain positive.
Despite this success there are areas of poverty, poor housing, unemployment and poor health, that sit alongside places where people live more comfortably. Not everyone has the same chances to change things however much they want to and however big they dream.
Organisations represented within The Derby Partnership have therefore set up a Task Force with a new shared goal for Derby: Working together, Closing the gap.
Gillian Sewell, Chief Executive of YMCA Derbyshire said: “There is no question that inequality of outcome is a massive challenge but it is one I passionately believe we must keep trying to resolve. We work with young people every single day who are at serious risk of being left behind and who haven’t had the chance, for lots of reasons, to show what they can do. We know that sort of start has an impact throughout someone’s life and basic dreams like a nice home, or an annual holiday remain are out of reach.”
Rev Simon Cartwright, Assistant Area Dean for Derby City, said: “The Task Force will begin by organising a Partnership Summit later this year to bring together leading experts to hear the latest thinking in terms of populations and policy and also to understand what other cities have been doing to make a difference.
“There are many organisations whose work contributes to levelling the playing field of opportunity and initiatives that could have a greater impact. The Summit will really help us understand what we are facing and what academics, policy makers and service providers see as the ways we can focus our efforts more effectively.”
Through the Derby Partnership, the Derby Telegraph, Marketing Derby and Derby Museums Trust are working together on ‘The Derby Story’ to capture not only the history of the city to showcase its historic assets but also how it’s writing that story now through the lives of the people who live here.
Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums Trust explained: “We probably all know some of the story of Derby – perhaps through its Roman or Viking heritage, Joseph Wright’s paintings or the arrival of Rolls-Royce – Derby was and remains a city of significance.
“We want to create a strong narrative to inspire people and give a sense of shared pride in a shared understanding of where we have come from. We also want to shape where we are going and create something more organic which looks at the experience of life in the city today. This fits very well with the Partnerships closing the gap goal, and to inform the June Summit we will be running a number of events at the museum over the next few months to talk to residents and visitors.”
Leaders from public, private and third sector organisations in Derby were brought together by Derby City Council to review and reinvigorate how they worked in partnership and where their different interests could be aligned to have the greatest positive impact on city life.
Christine Durrant, Acting Chief Executive, Derby City Council explained: “From my perspective we had a very open and honest debate and came to some important conclusions on how we continue working together for the good of the city. Most compelling to me was the debate on where, if we put our collective weight together we should be able to inspire change. In identifying ‘Closing the Gap’ as our goal, it was clear that we all recognised how important it is and that we share a passion to tackle this ambitious challenge. It is important to me that the Derby Partnership is one of equals.”
Cllr Ranjit Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council added: “I fully support the Partnership aim for Derby to be a place that works together on ‘Closing the Gap’. It is clearly something that many of our Council services contribute to achieving but as a city we are still not making sufficient progress. The issues surrounding social mobility, inclusive growth and health inequality are all inextricably linked. I strongly agree that we need to find a way to work more collaboratively to deliver better outcomes for the many people in our city who are simply not able to achieve what we would all consider to be a good quality of life.”