Community builder roles created to combat health inequalities

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 August 2014

The For All Healthy Living Centre.

The For All Healthy Living Centre.

Archant

AN AREA of Weston where one-third of older people are affected by poverty and deprivation will soon benefit from a new health scheme.

Last year, the Mercury reported how health inequalities in the town were widening, with the South Ward ranking in the most deprived one per cent in the country.

But a committee dedicated to improving the health inequalities issue had not met in more than a year.

It prompted the creation of a new group which aimed to improve the health of people living on Weston’s South Ward, which includes the Bournville, Oldmixon, Coronation estates and the Potteries.

The committee has decided to follow an asset-based approach, which makes use of people’s skills and interests to reduce social isolation and improve general wellbeing.

Two people from the area will be hired to become ‘community builders’ dedicated to creating links between people with similar interests.

Mark Graham, chief executive of the For All Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville estate, said: “It’s about not just assuming people have a difficulty.

“It’s about helping them remember what they can offer as well. So if someone likes running, they can be easily linked to a running club, and it can help reduce their social isolation and improve their health.”

Recent statistics published about the area showed one in eight adult patients – some 13.5 per cent - enrolled at the For All Healthy Living Centre were found to be depressed.

This was compared to North Somerset’s seven per cent average and 5.8 per cent across England.

Meanwhile a third of older people are living in poverty, and many feel isolated.

North Somerset ward councillor Ian Parker said: “I think it is something worth supporting and I hope it will make a real difference to people.”

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