A range of organisations have pledged to support plans to help people live longer, and strategies to create more jobs, at the official launch of a vision for County Durham’s future.

The County Durham Vision 2035 sets out three strategic ambitions for the area over the next 15 years – to attract more and better jobs, to help people to live long and independent lives, and to ensure communities are connected.

More than 150 people, attended an official launch event for the vision, where members of the County Durham Partnership, including Durham County Council, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Durham Constabulary, Durham University, the voluntary and community sector, and the clinical commissioning groups, all signed up to the strategy and discussed how they could support its aims.

As well as pledging to back the vision, partners also heard about the impact cultural events can have on the county’s ambitions and the role culture can play in improving health and wellbeing.

Guest speakers included Dr Darren Henley OBE, chief executive of Arts Council England, who spoke about the value of culture to health and wellbeing, and Helen Marriage, artistic director of Artichoke, the organisation that produces Lumiere light festival, who explained the impact the festival has on the county.

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council and chair of the County Durham Partnership, said: “It has been 10 years since the previous vision, and we are now excited to launch the new 2035 vision which will steer our partnership work for the next 15 years.

“We have listened closely to local communities and partners to develop this vision and the objectives that underpin it, to ensure that it reflect the voices of the people of Durham.

“By 2035, our aim is for County Durham to enjoy a thriving economy, with better employment opportunities for all; the best possible health outcomes; and caring and welcoming communities that give everyone the opportunity to realise their potential.

“This year is our year of culture and as well as celebrating the partnership work that goes on across the county, the vision launch event debated what more can be done and what contribution culture can make to our new vision.”

The full vision document and an accompanying video can be viewed at www.durham.gov.uk/vision