Minister launches £500,000 project to improve health and wellbeing in North West


Minister launches £500,000 project to improve health and wellbeing in North West

The Western Health and Social Care Trust today welcomed the Health Minister, Edwin Poots to Londonderry to launch a £500,000 project designed to improve health and well being in some of the most deprived areas of the North West.


Mr Poots met groups from the six areas taking part in the Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project ‘Building Health - Renewing Communities’ in Caw Youth Club.


The Minister praised the work of the Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme and called for a co-ordinated approach to public health.

He said: “As Minister for Health I am committed to placing public health issues centre stage.  But tackling health inequalities in our population is something which involves everyone – Government, the Health and Social Care sector, the Public Health Agency, local councils, statutory organisations right down to local commissioning groups, and community and voluntary organisations.


“I am on record as saying that health is not just the “Department of Health’s” business, but everyone’s business.   All of society must play their part to improve and protect the health of the population. We need to work collaboratively to tackle poverty, inequality and social exclusion which are responsible for inequalities in health.  And I am encouraged to see and hear today about the positive work being carried out by a whole range of partners, both statutory and community; each bringing their unique contributions and working collectively to achieving common aims.


“I am also encouraged to see that the theme of ‘winter health’ including fuel and food poverty has been chosen by all six Neighbourhood Renewal areas as the area-wide campaign for this winter.  This means there is a coordinated approach across all agencies which empowers local people, particularly those most vulnerable, to look after their health and wellbeing during this winter and beyond.” 


‘Building Health - Renewing Communities’ is the result of a partnership between the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the community sector. Community partners include Limavady Neighbourhood Partnership, Strabane Neighbourhood Partnership, and in Derry/Londonderry - Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership,Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership, Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership and Triax Neighbourhood Partnership.

‘Building Health - Renewing Communities’ is funded by the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Public Health Agency.


Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland said: "I welcome the opportunity to support this Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project in the North West.


“There is clear evidence that people living in deprived areas are at a much higher risk of suffering from ill health.


“This project helps redress that imbalance and I am committed to working with local communities and partners across Government to tackle health and  other inequalities in disadvantaged areas. This will be best achieved by equipping people to take control of their health and make lasting changes for the better. This is another example of how the Executive working together can deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.”


In the six Neighbourhood Renewal areas ‘Building Health - Renewing Communities’ is being led by the Western Trust and coordinated by Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum.


Western Trust Chairman Gerard Guckian said: “We are delighted to welcome Health Minister Edwin Poots to the North West to see this outstanding project which the Western Trust is helping to drive forward. This project is a tremendous example of meaningful partnership engaging community and voluntary groups.”


Two key themes the project will target are Men’s Health and Winter Health. 


Seamus Ward, of Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum and coordinator for the project, explained: “Through this project we will specifically target men across each locality in the North West to help them become more physically active and learn about food and nutrition. The programme is about letting men embrace the role they have to play in their family and wider community. 


“Winter Health has become one of the most challenging health crises in recent times. It has been well documented about the price of fuel and food soaring and the past couple of years we have faced some of the worst cold snaps in living memory. Behind all these facts are real life challenges for many people, none more so than the most frail and vulnerable.  We will again be meeting these challenges head on, working in partnership with many community and statutory agencies to reduce the burden these effects have on so many people”.