10. How healthy and well supported are people?
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What success would mean
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
World Health Organisation1
“Tackling health inequalities is a top priority for this Government, and it is focused on narrowing the health gap between disadvantaged groups, communities and the rest of the country, and on improving health overall.”
Department of Health2
Healthy, well supported people are good for…
Environmental sustainability - pro-environmental behaviour is differentiated across the population. Those who are better educated, live a less-transient lifestyle and are more healthy are generally more amenable to the idea of recycling and local long-term environmental protection.3
A strong local economy – poor management of workplace health can lead to work-related ill health and to high levels of sickness absence. This gives real cause for concern, not least because of the costs involved, the impact on service delivery and the consequences for individual staff. Sickness absence is a key business issue, and it is a key indicator of how well an organisation is managed.4
Reducing inequalities - flexible work practices, such as teleworking or flexitime, offer fundamental health benefits to a workforce and can particularly alleviate health inequalities found in the social fabric of a local economy. Individuals who cannot physically travel to work, such as the disabled can work from home; those who have care responsibilities, which are difficult to fit into the constraints of a normal working day are able to seek work; and individuals in lower income brackets are able to take advantage of cheaper, off-peak travel rates to travel to work.5
Examples of Relevant National Indicators:
NI008: Adult participation in sport and active recreation
NI101: Looked after children achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) at Key Stage 4 (including English and maths)
NI126: Early access for women to maternity services
NI198:% of children walking or cycling to school
Greenwich Community Food Initiative
What is it?
The Greenwich Community Food Co-op (GCFC) was set up in January 2002, with the aim of reducing health inequalities by improving access to affordable fruit and vegetables in South Greenwich.
People from the local community helped to conduct research to find out what problems were commonly experienced with healthy eating and what solutions local residents wanted.
The research confirmed that local shops offered a very poor range of fruit and vegetables. People wanted access to a local greengrocer, and this led to a number of local fruit and vegetable stalls being set up, and a number of other community food initiatives.
How does it work?
Defining the need -the first phase of the project was a community needs assessment to identify the barriers to food access affecting residents and potential ways of overcoming these.
Getting started - the Ferrier Food Project, established in April 2001, began with six committed residents and three community workers. A market stall was set up in Telemann Square with the aim of providing good quality fruit and vegetables to local residents at reasonable prices.
Rolling out the model -two new co-ops were opened in autumn 2007, in Thamesmead and Middle Park. At the end of 2007, there were eight street-based co-ops in priority areas, eight school deliveries, and eight wholesale deliveries.
Meeting the cost - the co-ops themselves were 70% financially sustainable, supported 25 volunteers, provided four jobs, and conducted more than 18,000 transactions that year. The plan is that they will become fully self-sustainable by 2010.
What are the main impacts?
Healthier people - increased opportunity for a healthier diet because fruit and vegetables at affordable prices are more easily available.
Stronger local economy – in 2007, the co-ops supported 25 volunteers, provided four jobs, and conducted more than 18,000 transactions that year.
Increased well-being of children and young people - one of the key successes is that children have been buying fruit from school co-ops and eating it at break time – there are now seven school fruit tuck shops.
Responsible, stronger and more cohesive communities – food co-ops which run in outside spaces where people live can encourage social networks to develop.
For more information, contact:
Janice Hall, Health Greenwich Network Coordinator
T: 020 8921 3154
Full case study
1. World Health Organisation
2. Department for Health
3. London Health Commission, 2006. Sustainable Local Economies for Health project (SLEHP)
4. Health and Safety Executive, 2006. Healthy workforce, healthy workplace, better service delivery.
5. As 3.