Study reveals town's health inequalities

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 April 2015

Archant

THE full extent of health inequalities in one of the most deprived areas of Weston has been revealed in a new report.

The review focuses on the Bournville, Coronation, Oldmixon and Potteries areas, with parts of those places ranked among the most deprived one per cent in the country.

The findings show almost half of children and a third of older people are living in poverty in those areas.

The report also says domestic violence and sexual abuse is higher than the North Somerset average, while a quarter of South Ward residents report they have a limiting long-term illness.

The South Ward Health Needs and Assets Assessment has been published by a North Somerset Council steering group.

A review into the health inequalities issue got underway in 2013 after it was revealed that a council committee supposedly dedicated to improving the problem had not met in more than a year.

Now, the South Ward Health and Wellbeing 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.

The committee has just introduced two ‘community builders’ to create links between people with similar interests, which is being organised by housing association Curo.

The document says: “There is a view held by some locally that much has been invested in the area over recent years with few results to show.

“This document, after presenting a summary of local health needs, hopes to go some way to shift perceptions by highlighting results of an early assessment of local health assets.

“Such needs include child poverty and poor child health, low aspirations and/or expectations in young people, high prevalence of alcohol and substance misuse, poor mental health, high unemployment, high smoking prevalence, poor cardiac health and high premature mortality.

“Efforts to tackle such a range of needs can seem daunting, however changing the lens and viewing the area through a strengths-based approach can reveal existing opportunities for promoting health and wellbeing.”

The report highlights the levels of youth unemployment in the area, with 37 per cent of Alliance Homes tenants who are claiming housing benefit aged under 25.

And estimates suggest around 40 per cent of people smoke on South Ward compared to North Somerset’s average of 16 per cent.

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