Trust supports neighbourhood health


 Trust supports neighbourhood health The Western Trust Health Improvement Department, in association with the Public Health Agency and Department for Social Development is committed to supporting communities in all eight Neighbourhood Renewal areas across the West.

A £400,000 health initiative called the Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project (NHIP) has been implemented over the last 18 months to help improve the lives of the 66,000 residents living in these Neighbourhood Renewal areas.

The initiative has also been supported by a further investment of almost £92,000 from the Public Health Agency (Western Investing for Health Partnership) under their agenda of addressing poverty and inequalities

Phase 1 of the project, which started on 1 October 2009, finished on 31 March 2011 in the following Neighbourhood Renewal (NR) areas: Limavady, TRIAX, Waterside, Outer north and Outer west, Strabane, Omagh and Enniskillen.

To mark the end of Phase 1 a show and share event took place in Strabane District Council Offices which provided an opportunity to showcase the project’s activities, to network and to share the learning.

Sara Groogan, Western Trust Director of Performance and Service Improvement, is delighted that the Trust was involved in supporting the delivery of this initiative. She said: “The Neighbourhood Renewal areas have worked on a number of shared priorities to improve health and well-being including taking forward targeted health improvement initiatives on topics such as alcohol and drugs, diet and nutrition, sexual health, mental health, smoking, suicide prevention and promoting healthier choices. We are looking forward to building on the good work and practice into Phase 2 of the project.”

The Department for Social Development’s North West Development Officer, Brian Doherty said: “The Department for Social Development has been delighted to support this health initiative, as research has indicated that people who live in deprived areas are at a much higher risk of suffering from ill health. This imbalance must be redressed and in conjunction with our partners across government we are committed to tackling health and other inequalities in disadvantaged areas. We want to build shared communities that are confident, vibrant and sustainable.”

Brendan Bonner, PHA Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (West) said: “The Public Health Agency was set up to promote and enhance the factors that influence good health and wellbeing and to reduce the avoidable and unjust differences in health experienced between the best and the worst-off in our society. We have invested in this initiative as it worked within the most disadvantaged areas across the Western Trust and helped to develop projects meeting local needs, including health improvement programmes and capacity building through specialist training, for example.”

Gerard Harkin, Manager Strabane District Caring Services and Co-Chair of the NR management group, said: “The Neighbourhood Renewal health initiative provided us with a unique opportunity to tackle the heart of the issues that affect health behaviours, life expectancy, and quality of life. I would commend this process of empowering communities to take control of their health and make sustainable changes for the future.”

An evaluation of Phase 1 of the project will be available from the Western Trust Health Improvement Department at the end of April. This will help inform future practice for Phase 2 which will run from April 2011 to March 2013.