Winchester welcomes Gambia

Winchester City Council welcomed seven delegates from both central and local government in Gambia on a fact-finding mission about how local government operates in England.

Gambia is currently decentralising power and the delegates were keen to see local government in action. Previous links with Hampshire inspired the visit that saw delegates also being taken to New Forest District Council as well as Hampshire County Council, who organised the week-long visit.

The delegates heard a number of speakers talk about partnership working, something that the city council is trying to develop further itself. They heard about the Local Strategic Partnership which aims to enable a joined up approach to the way that services are offered across the district, the Health for all Partnership, and the City Centre Partnership that strives to develop the business community in the city.

The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Jean Hammerton, hosted lunch in Abbey House and in the afternoon delegates visited Winchester Area Community Action to learn about working with the voluntary sector. They then heard from the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils to get a better understanding of how all the tiers of government fit and work together.

"All the delegates thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt that what they had learnt could be transferred into the way of life back in Gambia and help them create an effective system of local government there," said City Council Leader Sheila Campbell.

"It has been a privilege to be able to help in the formation of local government, something that is so important to allow local people to have a voice," she added.