This week saw a major landmark in Bolton as the future of the borough was discussed at the Vision conference hosted at the new campus for Bolton College.
Leaders from the borough’s leading public, private, faith, voluntary, education and community sector organisations laid out their plans for the future in front of more that 200 delegates, with a more dynamic feeling to the conference than ever before.
The focus of the conference was on how the Bolton family can respond to the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, and the feedback from the floor was that this year’s conference was more important than ever.
A series of workshops took place throughout the conference, which saw discussions range from how Bolton can stay safe, to how to maximise Bolton’s economy and skills.
Other areas covered in the workshops included: environment; children and schools; health and social care; and cohesion and the Big Society agenda.
As well as the workshops, there was a question and answer session with a panel featuring: Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council; Sean Harriss, Chief Executive of Bolton Council; Lesley Doherty, Chief Executive of Royal Bolton Hospital; Karen Minnitt, Chief Executive, Bolton CVS; and Jan Hutchinson, Director of Public Health NHS Bolton.
The lively session was chaired by Chris Hopkinson, Chairman of the Bolton Vision partnership.
With a focus on ensuring that Bolton remains strong and cohesive, the One Bolton pledge formed an important part of the conference. The pledge states that: “We celebrate the diversity of Bolton and unite to create One Bolton, recognising differences, celebrating communities and commit to encouraging harmony.”
Delegates were able to visit an exhibition stand, sign the pledge and consider making a donation to the Big Bolton Fund that helps support community groups in Bolton.
Bolton Council’s Leader, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “There is no doubt that in these challenging times, the best way to make sure Bolton remains a strong and vibrant place is for organisations such as those in the Vision partnership to work together.
“A lot of useful discussions took place at the conference, and I’m confident that in the next year we will see strong partnerships put into place as a result.
As well as challenges, there are great signs of opportunity through partnerships in Bolton, from the Bolton One health, education and leisure complex being built, to the joint college campus that we held the conference in.”
Chris Hopkinson, Chairman of the Bolton Vision partnership, said: “It is vital that we work together to help our most vulnerable members of the Bolton family in these tough times, and effective partnership working is crucial to make sure this happens.
“Although the talks that have taken place at the conference are incredibly useful, it is the action that will take place over the next 12 months that will make the real difference."