Fusion Maidstone is one of a set of Healthy Living Centres across the region, each one offering a bespoke and localised approach to health promotion. HLC’s subscribe strongly to the preventative agenda that is assuming an ever higher profile as the health authorities seek to tackle the challenges of maintaining healthcare for an ageing and growing population, in the context of the challenges of national and local budgetary constraints.
For many years, we have operated from premises in Park Wood Parade, in a beneficial partnership with Golding Homes and other associates and agencies, from many sectors. As part of the regeneration of the Park Wood estate, new housing stock is being built, with new tenants arriving, which presents us with a refreshed tenant profile to work with in the coming years.
In addition to these opportunities, we have a brief to extend our work across the wider Maidstone area, to accomplish a range of health objectives as set out by Kent County Council (KCC) in our Service Level Agreement (SLA), and in partnership with Maidstone Borough Council, (MBC) and also elements of the voluntary sector.
A number of key objectives identified in earlier years have been achieved, particularly in the areas of increased community engagement through the successful appointment of a Community Development Worker, as well as in streamlining and sharpening our management and administrative support systems. Some of our current aims involve:
* A strengthening of our paid staff base,
* The articulation of a refreshed volunteer strategy that embraces community engagement for more mature volunteers whilst maximising employment opportunities for younger persons who might be on the fringes of the employment market.
* Increased engagement with children & families and young people
* A rebranding exercise
* A refreshed café style with a new menu and approach
* A fresh marketing and promotional approach making best use of electronic/social media
All of these aims will be taking place against the back-drop of the challenges involved in moving from our existing premises to a new home in the newly built complex in Cobb Way, Park Wood. Our greatest asset in maintaining our edge as an effective community hub whilst undergoing this relocation is not
money, nor equipment; it is people. We have a hugely committed staff team, with the full support of our growing Board of Trustees who give a great deal of their time, experience and abilities. We are also developing our band of volunteers of many backgrounds and abilities. Most important of all, we have the ongoing support and engagement of the people of Park Wood. Although some are moving on as part of
the regeneration initiative, others who have moved in are already significantly involved with us. They are our reason for doing what we do. It is having that unswerving focus on our customers that has kept us on target since the inception of the project over two decades ago, and which will continue to be our compass into the days ahead.
The prospect of dovetailing the work of Fusion Maidstone with the wider regeneration of the Park Wood area is at once both a challenge and an opportunity. Finding a way forwards in the midst of challenges is not a new phenomenon:
“In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity…”
(Speech by President J F Kennedy, at Valley Forge Country Club, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 29 October 1960)
It will, however, mean that we must be very clear in setting out how we propose to balance our priorities, budgets and other resources in the foreseeable future and build on the successful partnerships that have to date proved so beneficial to the local community.