03 November 2020

A new strategy which aims to reduce health inequalities in Northamptonshire will be discussed at a meeting of the county council's Cabinet next week.

The programme, being developed by Public Health, aims to empower communities in the county so they can build their own resilience to become healthier.

This will involve working with local community teams who have a really good understanding of local communities, recruit officers who can work with communities to understand their needs and what is available locally already, and then work in partnership with those communities to develop interventions to improve health and wellbeing.

These officers will be based in the new community hubs, working with Adult Social Care and wider health and care partners, to make sure that all services are working together to improve residents' health and wellbeing.

The initiative will also include a grant programme for the voluntary and community sector to enable the local delivery of interventions that meet the identified needs of people in each community.

This programme will aim to reach vulnerable groups at most risk of health inequalities and will focus on sustainable interventions that will have a positive impact on wider health and wellbeing.

The initiative looks to develop areas such as:

  • Improving the wellbeing of those most disadvantaged in a community
  • Increasing social connections within a community
  • Improving neighbourhoods

Developing these areas will help buffer against risk factors like smoking, obesity, and drug and alcohol use as well as vulnerability to poor mental health.

Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said:

 

"This innovative scheme seeks to identify the groups which are most at risk of poor health and work with those groups to identify and develop solutions so that their health can be improved in a sustainable way.

"Recruiting community officers is a great way of making sure interventions are tailored appropriately so that we get the best results."

 Public Health currently commission a Social Wellbeing service, which evolved from the council's supporting people adult social care contracts. The contract is held with Commsortia which subcontracts to a number of voluntary and community sector providers.

In December 2019, Cabinet approved a one year extension to the contract between the county council and Commsortia with a total value of £1.3 million expiring at the end of March 2021, to use this year to plan for the end of the contract.

Cabinet approval was also given to develop this new community-based offer to address health inequalities, which will start in April 2021.