A worrying decline in the physical and mental health of Essex children was noted on Tuesday 10 May at an Essex County Council meeting. The Liberal Democrats backed two different sets of proposals to address these concerns.
The Lib Dems called on Essex CC to rapidly roll out a programme of "School Streets" - safe zones that would support physical health, by encouraging pupils to walk or cycle to school.
The Lib Dem motion to the council meeting noted that many young people are obese or overweight (4 in 10 by Year 6). 1 in 6 are likely to have a mental health problem. Under half are active enough and that number is declining.
Moving the motion, Cllr David King (Colchester, Mile End and Highwoods) said, "It's great to have extracted agreement from the Council to do more help the physical and mental health of our children. With more school streets sooner, it will make it easier and safer for our children to walk or cycle to school.''
At the same meeting, the Lib Dems backed calls to support the mental health needs of Essex's young people. The Lib Dems backed a motion from independent councillors that called on the Government to address the growing crisis through funding to provide more counselling support.
Sadly, the Conservative amendment weakened the motion, refusing to act anything like fast enough. Both sets of proposals were watered down by Conservative amendments.
Lib Dem Leader Cllr. Mike Mackrory (Springfield) said, "We hope that we don't have to endure yet more empty promises from the Conservatives at County level, just like the Conservatives in central Government.
"They must act on these vital issues to support our residents in Essex. The Conservatives cannot neglect our mental and physical health any longer. Sadly, they refused to call on their Westminster colleagues to provide more funding for mental health services and resources.''
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