Inequalities key to new Councils' Health and Wellbeing Programme

Released: Monday, 11 January 2021

A renewed focus on tackling the health inequalities revealed by the Covid crisis is to be a priority for post-pandemic health and wellbeing teams at Adur & Worthing Councils, a report reveals.

Understanding inequalities in communities and promoting inclusion with a focus on emotional well being and health, access to finance, skills for employment and learning will form the backbone of a new policy, the report to the Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee says.

This will need more detailed understanding of specific neighbourhoods and their needs together with the creation of a solid network of support within localised volunteer groups and other community organisations as well as other partner agencies, the report says.

It comes as the Councils’ existing three-year health and wellbeing strategy, Start Well, Live Well, Age Well comes to an end.

The report points out that the programme has successfully delivered a number of programmes to the community and Councils’ staff which has seen thousands benefit from help and advice on a wide range of issues. These include:

Going Local - A scheme in which Councils’ staff work with local GP surgeries to socially prescribe non-medical interventions that may prevent such action. More than 1,200 residents were supported by this scheme in 2020.

Wellbeing Programme - Funded by West Sussex County Council it focuses on interventions around physical activity, weight management, giving up smoking and reduction of alcohol consumption. An average of 3,000 people a year use this service

Growing Communities - Funded by Councils with The Conservation Volunteers organisation the scheme helps people in deprived areas exercise in the open air through projects like green gyms. Almost 5,000 people have taken part.

Parks Strategy - The continued investment in open spaces together with play equipment, outdoor gyms and sports facilities to encourage physical and mental well being.

Local walking and cycling infrastructure plan - To build coherent walkways and cycle paths to encourage physical activity and outdoor experience while cutting down on polluting car use.

The report says that, despite this success, the pandemic has highlighted more work that needs to be done to tackle health inequalities at their roots as well ensuring that everyone has access to services and help where needed. Statistics have shown that Covid deaths are more likely to occur in areas of relative deprivation where good health and wellbeing opportunities are more limited.

It commits to returning to council leaders with a new public health plan that spells out how it will work with partners such as West Sussex County Council, the NHS and voluntary and community groups to examine what each area of the community needs to improve health and wellbeing. As part of this a new Physical Activities Strategy, promoting exercise for all, will be published in the Spring as part of the fresh approach.

Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, Cllr Kevin Boram, said:

"The present programme has been tremendously successful in delivering some genuinely innovative schemes that have made a real difference to people’s lives. We are now determined to build on this work to help our community to recover from the impact of the terrible pandemic we are currently facing."

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, Cllr Val Turner, said:

"This pandemic is teaching us that there is still a long way to go to tackle deprivation and the subsequent health inequalities that arise. Of course this is an issue for wider society but working with our excellent partners and the large number of excellent voluntary and community groups here we can help make a difference. We have already and we must redouble our efforts to do so again."

To read the full report, click the link below:

2021-01-11 - Health and Wellbeing

(PR21-006)

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Page last updated: 09 April 2021