'Shaping Places for Healthier Lives' scheme opens

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Health Foundation have launched the ‘Shaping Places for Healthier Lives’ scheme, which will look to support and promote innovative ways of tackling health inequalities in local areas.

Local authorities can bid to take part in the three-year programme, which will see councils start with a key health or health-related issue in their area, working alongside their local networks and partnerships to identify the various related factors that drive this health outcome. Teams will then work out what actions they can take to shape and improve the physical and mental health of the local population through this joined-up approach.

Following an initial expression of interest, about 30 council-led projects will be taken into the next round of selection in January next year. Councils will be supported by the LGA via workshops to understand the complex systems in their area and develop proposals further.

In April 2020, up to 12 councils will then be offered a grant to advance their full proposal, before a final five projects are chosen in the summer to receive up to £100,000 per year for the next three years, funded by the Health Foundation.

The expression of interest stage opened this month, together with the publication of the full programme prospectus.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “People’s health and wellbeing is affected by so much more than just what immediate health and care services are available in their area.

“Other important issues which councils have a crucial role in, such as housing, skills, employment, transport and public spaces, all have a part to play in deciding our wider public health.

“If you live in good quality accommodation with convenient access to work, have the right skills to progress in life while being able to use your local leisure centre or public park, your chances of living a healthy and fulfilling life are much improved.

“These opportunities should be available and extended to everyone in our communities, regardless of their circumstances, to help them live the lives they want to lead.

“I would encourage all councils to consider applying for this scheme and draw upon the expertise in their areas, including from businesses, schools, colleges and community groups, to help transform the health and wellbeing of the people they represent.”