The Health Development team works to reduce health inequalities throughout Down District and deliver improvement in health and well being to our service users, families and other staff.
We identify local health needs & inequalities and work with Communities to look at ways of addressing these through innovative programmes and activities under the following headings.
We have worked closely with 35 groups throughout 2012. We have continued to access funding, develop and deliver programmes of health promotion and physical activities including boccia, chair based activities, tea dances, mental health promotion, aromatherapy, social clubs, nutrition, fuel poverty, A2B and Home Safety Checks.
We continue to support “The Safe and Well Project” with many of our groups availing of funding. In partnership we also held a Tea Dance and well-being workshops in the Ballymote Centre with over 120 older people in attendance.
We continue to facilitate the “Down Senior Forum” in order to identify older peoples’ needs, issues and priorities and to organise senior events, such as a Christmas Boccia Tournament and a Planning Workshop in The Burrendale Hotel, which included an introductory session on “Active Learning in Later Life”.
Throughout this year our work has increased with youth groups. Examples of our work include: the facilitation of a wide range of activities and programmes including basketball, dance, arts and crafts, soccer, zumba, nutrition, Cook It, drugs and alcohol and personal development sessions
We ran a series of well attended summer schemes which took place in Saul, Dundrum and Annsborough. We helped promote the Midnight Soccer Programme delivered across Down District to reduce levels of anti-social bevaviour and also had input into local Council summer schemes. We received Fit Futures monies to run programmes in Ardglass, Drumaness, Dundrum, and Kilcoo which included an exciting range of outdoor activities with the aim of encouraging young people to live healthier and more active lifestyles.
All of this worked to strengthen and continued to build relationships with youth service providers and helped to bridge gaps in youth service provision.
Our work with local schools increased both through the provision of programmes including Time to Read, Roots of Empathy and Chester’s Challenge. We co-ordinated 4 health fayres with 3 primary schools and 1grammar school. These fayres provided a wealth of information ranging from cholesterol checks, benefit advice, counseling support and local services to pupils, parents and staff. Schools have requested that these are run annually.
We work in partnership with community, voluntary and statutory agencies to improve the health and well being of men in Down District. We continue to support the Men’s Forum, Men’s Groups and provide health awareness to Men’s Clubs. Among highlights of the year were a series of walks for local men and an educational trip to address issues regarding drugs and alcohol. We also delivered a Positive Steps programme to a newly formed men’s group in Newcastle.
We continue to work closely with women’s groups in Down District including delivery of Positive Steps, physical activity, Weigh to Health, basic computer skills training and the facilitation of Essential skills. As part of International Women’s day we provided health information at Down District Council’s International Women’s Day Conference.
We continue to work with Down Diversity in Action Forum. This group, facilitated by CDRCN, is committed to respecting difference and valuing individuals regardless of background while creating opportunities that embrace diversity for the benefit of all.
Core to our work are the community Safety Action Plans, Interagency meetings, Community needs Analysis and audits as well as the new Village Plans through DRAP funding which will shape our work in local communities in the coming years.
We strive to enable our communities to make healthier choices though the on going provision of tailored training programmes including smoking cessation, physical activity, drugs and alcohol, mental health, nutrition, accident prevention and sexual health. Community capacity building workshops such as committee skills were delivered to community groups and individuals to promote community leadership.
Threaded throughout our work is our strong relationship with local statutory agencies enabling us to coordinate with them and maximise community benefit. The forums and partnerships we are involved with allow us to reinforce existing relationships and build new ones.