Dundee’s rising reputation can act as inspiration to help the City of Discovery tackle lingering social ills, the city’s council leader believes.
Dundee City Council chief John Alexander feels increased confidence and performance in sectors across Dundee can help build a better future for Dundonians.
Mr Alexander spelled out his hopes at St Pius RC Primary School on Wednesday morning during the launch of the Dundee City Plan, a blueprint for Dundee’s development over the next decade.
While acknowledging a number of social and health issues which continue to blight lives, Mr Alexander believes an open and honest reflection can help Dundee enjoy a brighter future.
He said: “I don’t think we can have an action plan or a bold and ambitious outlook on where we want to take the city unless we reflect on where we are at the moment.
“It’s only by recognising the key challenges we have that we can set out a clear direction of travel and say how are we going to tackle these issues, but more than that, how are we going to build success, what does success look like?
“You come into my job because you want to make a real difference to people’s lives and that’s ultimately what we are trying to do through everything we do in the council and with our partners in the room.
“Everything within the action plan isn’t just derived from what we think the city looks like, or what we think the key issues are, it’s come from people out there on the street who are facing these challenges on a daily basis. It is their plan, we are just the ones putting it into a formal document.”
As part of the Dundee City Plan, Dundee Partnership (an amalgamation of groups including Dundee City Council and NHS Tayside) wants to build 5000 new social homes.
Helping get 4700 people into employment during the next decade is another aim of the project.
The 2017 to 2026 city plan notes ongoing issues faced by Dundee including a lower than average life expectancy and a higher teen pregnancy rate than the Scottish average.
However, according to Mr Alexander, regeneration has given city residents a renewed sense of self belief.
He said: “Drug and alcohol misuse, and deprivation, in the 21st century, still affect far too many.
“But what we’re trying to do is set that against the context that this city is in a really good place at the moment.
“We have record inward investment and record businesses who are interested.
“We are really building a city for the future at the moment.”