A small group of people involved in the Glens Healthy Places Project have come together to share the success of the programme, and to highlight the benefit of these approaches.
Four different strands were progressed across the Glens DEA between November 2019 and April 2020. These were: Glens Men, which aimed to address loneliness and isolation among men; a participatory budgeting initiative in Armoy village; a small grants programme by NACN, where community projects addressed health and wellbeing; and Fresh Little Minds, which supported the mental health and emotional wellbeing of primary school children across the area.
Northern Area Community Network (NACN) led the programme locally, in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Northern Health & Social Care Trust, Public Health Agency, Participatory Budgeting (PB) Works and PB Facilitators.
Causeway Coast and Glens Chief Executive, David Jackson, was the local government representative on the regional ‘Healthy Places’ cross-departmental steering group. Speaking about the achievements of the programme, Mr Jackson said: “I commend everyone involved in this initiative which demonstrates the benefits of working together with local community groups, individuals, schools and businesses to create healthier and connected communities. The Glens Healthy Places programme has highlighted the importance of developing a strong culture of inter-organisational and cross-sector working to achieve sustainable health and wellbeing outcomes for everyone in our community.”
Healthy Places was developed as ‘a cross-cutting demonstration programme’ that aimed to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities in the Glens District Electoral Area (DEA). Funding for the work was provided by central government departments through the Public Health Agency.
The value of this place-based approach to health; brought together collective expertise across a range of sectors and highlights the potential of such initiatives to work beyond the confines of a pilot programme. The evaluation of the work also revealed a commitment to social innovation by drawing on community assets to tackle health challenges around men, children and emotional wellbeing. The value of community infrastructure and the capacity to mobilise local resources especially in the context and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic was also recognised.
An Independent Evaluation of Glens Healthy Places Programme documents the work in detail.
A copy of the Report is available here.