Major health factors to be explored by councils

The Local Government Association and the Health Foundation are to launch a new programme to help communities become better places to be born, grow, live and age well.

The Shaping Places for Healthier Lives will see five councils from across the country introduce and promote innovative ways of improving health and tackling health inequalities, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The three-year programme will support these councils to discover and deliver the actions needed in their communities, to improve the physical and mental health of their local populations.

Each council has worked with local partners and communities to identify and understand a specific issue of local concern, in developing their applications for the programme. They have considered the multiple and interlinked factors which lead to these issues, and which determine our health and how many years we can live in good health.

The successful shortlisted applicants are:

  •     Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire: food security
  •     Doncaster Council for Stainforth: mental health
  •     London Borough of Newham: food security
  •     Northumberland County Council for Blyth: anti-social behaviour and crime
  •     Shropshire Council: food security

David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Everyone deserves to be able to live a long and healthy life, no matter where they live. Covid-19 has tragically exposed and exacerbated our deep-rooted health inequalities, which need to be urgently addressed if we are to level up our communities for the future.

“This programme is an important first step in finding new ways to influence the social determinants of health, such as food poverty, anti-social behaviour and mental health services, which can make the difference in how long someone can live healthily while reducing the pressure on other services, such as the NHS and social care. By improving the way our systems and services work together, we can encourage new ideas and finally help reduce the healthy life expectancy gap between those in the least and most deprived areas.”

Jo Bibby, director of Health at the Health Foundation, said: "We are excited to launch this new programme in partnership with the Local Government Association. The selected councils have chosen to tackle important issues that are detrimental to the health of their local communities. We look forward to learning how strong local partnerships working together can positively shape people’s opportunities to lead healthy lives.

“The learning from these projects will be valuable in demonstrating local government’s role as a system leader in shaping local places to support the health and wellbeing of their communities.” 

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