AS some of you may know, I ruptured my Achilles in the SDC charity rounders match during the summer, and was a relief two weeks ago to at least be free of the surgical boot which has supported my injured limb.

The hard work starts now however, and we in Dursley, Cam and surrounding villages are fortunate to have the Vale Hospital in Dursley close by, and I attended my first physiotherapy session there this week.

I have also had a tentative go at the Pulse on the static bikes there.

Accessing services locally without having to travel great distances is better for us and better for the environment, and it cuts across two of our key visions in our corporate delivery plan – to promote health and wellbeing and deliver the public health agenda, and help the community minimise its carbon footprint.

As I arrived at the hospital, I saw social prescribing in action - there are flourishing allotments at the front of the hospital which people can get on prescription, something I am proud to say started here in the Stroud district.

Social prescribing can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including sessions at the Pulse, and it is there for those suffering from mental health issues as well as physical ill health.

As well as individuals when it comes to health and wellbeing we also need to think about the health of the communities where we live, especially those which are most disadvantaged.

We are currently working to understand how we can help people help themselves more effectively in their communities.

It’s known as Asset Based Community Development and our officers are working on a project in a Stroud community to see what impact it could make.

The principles of ABCD are to help residents identify their own strengths, skills and vision for their neighbourhood.

Community development workers encourage confidence, connections with other like-minded neighbours and support people to lead some kind of local change or start a new project like a community café or holiday club.

Sometimes this could be with the help of people like us in the Council or other charities.

The difference with ABCD is that communities are trained to lead and own the change, it’s not done to them by outside services.

We know from projects elsewhere that this approach can take years to develop properly but if done right can make real change to the health and local pride in a community, especially those that need it the most.

And we have plans to roll this out further across the district and put some more resources in – it may take time to come to fruition but helping keep our communities healthy and happy has got to be a top priority in these uncertain times.