Health improvement project targets poorest 10%

A new way of delivering interventions to improve the health of the poorest ten per cent of Leeds will use expert knowledge and community expertise to change lives for the better. Focussing on the areas of the city which have the ten percent of most deprived neighbourhoods, ‘Better Together’ is the name of the new locality community health development and improvement service for Leeds.

The new service will be delivered in South Leeds by local charities led by Health For All, working with Hamara and Asha Neighbourhood Project.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults, said:

“This is health improvement for and by communities. It will play a crucial part of the future health strategy for Leeds as individuals are supported to improve their health.

“At the heart of this new work is a commitment to the vision we outlined in the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Strategy last year: That Leeds will be a healthy and caring city for all ages, where people who are the poorest will improve their health the fastest. I am delighted this this new service will focus on people with the greatest health needs.”

The service will focus primarily on issues that lead to poor health, such as poverty, unemployment, relationships and housing issues and use a community development approach to work with individuals, groups and communities to identify local needs and work with them to find appropriate support and interventions that can help them improve their situation.

This will be a bespoke service-for the individual, for the group and for the community. It will seek to meet the needs of those who, for whatever reason have found it hard to help themselves. It may deliver physical activity sessions, such as walking groups, Zumba or cooking classes, when these meet the citizen’s needs.

However, the service is just as likely to help people gain valuable work related skills, such as improving language and communication skills, developing volunteers, encouraging interaction with other groups and helping people to improve their confidence to look for work by developing their CV.

Importantly the service will help people in local areas to identify and together start to tackle the local issues that affect their health and wellbeing. In time this will build strong support networks on which people can draw, during challenging times.

Pat McGeever, CEO of Health for All, who will be helping deliver Better Together, said:

“We’re really looking forward to helping to deliver this new service, building on the excellent work so many people and organisations in the city already do. By working with people in the communities where the change is most important we can make sure support is tailored to their needs and circumstances.

“By building community capacity, increasing social capital and strengthening individual and community resilience, both individuals and groups can take more control over their own health and help build sustainable communities.”