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Babergh to appoint wellbeing champions after council signs Mental Health Challenge

Luke Cresswell (Sudbury town councillor). (5150014)
Luke Cresswell (Sudbury town councillor). (5150014)

Mental health champions are set to be appointed to support residents of Babergh, after a motion put forward by a Sudbury councillor received cross-party approval.

Babergh District Council became the first authority in Suffolk to sign on to the Local Councils’ Mental Health Challenge, which encourages authorities to promote mental wellbeing, at its full council meeting last week.

The council gave unanimous approval to a motion by Luke Cresswell, Labour councillor for Sudbury South, that urged the council to sign the challenge, as well as appoint a member champion and a member of staff to act as lead officer for mental health within the council.

An amendment added by Tory council leader John Ward, which stated the council would appoint a second lead officer to work with local communities, was also green-lit along with the original motion.

Cllr Cresswell told the Free Press he had proposed the motion partly in response to “the negative actions and comments of a cabinet member in relation to mental health”, adding he was delighted by the unanimous support it received.

“This is only the foundation when it comes to mental health and we need to further develop our work in the coming months,” he said.

“At least now, with this successful motion, the council has a firm foundation of values to work from.

“I will continue to put motions forward and attempt to drag the council into the 21st century, preferably with no kicking or screaming.

“Mental health should be a priority across the authority’s areas of responsibility, and all councillors can play a positive role in championing mental health on an individual and strategic basis.”

A council spokesman confirmed a member champion would be appointed soon, and their details will be revealed on the Mental Health Challenge website.

Cllr Ward said: “While as a district council, Babergh is not directly involved with health or social care provision, there is much that we can do, and are doing, to promote mental wellbeing.

“I was proud to be able to support this motion. As the first council in Suffolk to sign up to the challenge, we can take a lead in showing how we can change our district for the better by continuing to champion mental health in all our communities.”


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