As we launch this website we thought it would be a good idea to explain a little of the thinking behind it, and what we mean when we talk about community wellbeing.
In the 21st century the health and wellbeing needs of our population are complex. We have a growing population of older people and a growing population of people living with long term health and care needs. The health and care system isn’t well equipped to deal with these challenges alone, and we need to think differently about the way we think about health, our role as people and as communities in living long, healthy and fulfilling lives. This is what we mean when we talk about Community Wellbeing. How services, people and communities can come together around a shared vision, bringing their collective resources to bare. This website brings together stories and examples where this happens. We want people to get on board with the idea and the movement – make a pledge to improve your wellbeing, or that of your community.
What makes us healthy?
Earlier this year, I was taken by a report published by The Health Foundation. It analysed a range of evidence and concluded that the health and care system is responsible for as little as 10% of the things that keep us healthy. That means that the remaining 90% impact lies in our homes, our communities, our connections and our lifestyles. This really highlights just how powerful people and communities can be in determining health outcomes.
Also this year the Office for National Statistics looked at the impact of deprivation on avoidable deaths. Staggeringly they found that if you lived in one of the country’s more deprived neighbourhoods then you are four times more likely to die from an avoidable disease in the most affluent. What is perhaps even more staggering is the fact that between the most and least wealthy communities in our country there can be a 19 year difference in healthy life expectancy. This is the time we spend in our lives free from disease. This raises incredible challenges with people dropping out of the labour market, for welfare, for people’s mental health etc. Often these neighbourhoods are separated by nothing more than a short bus ride.
What we do know is that all our communities however are filled with the most incredible people, fantastic ideas and community assets. Our collective challenge is how do we identify them, harness them and help them to grow. This needs to be a major priority of public services in Tameside and Glossop.
Just one example of this working well in Tameside and Glossop is a network of members of the public who work alongside their local GP practice to support and improve their community’s health and wellbeing. Around 70 people are collaborating with their local GP practice to set up a wide range of activities. Including tai chi in a GP waiting room, a range of arts and crafts activities including making post cards to reach out to people who may be socially isolated, meditation and mindfulness, numerous health walks and providing support in waiting rooms to help people navigate the system.
Through the regular blogs and information on this website we will profile examples where the system and communities can come together to bring about positive change, also where the power of people has a huge impact on communities. You can follow us on Twitter @CWTandG.