More than 70 new initiatives are now helping thousands of County Durham residents improve their health and wellbeing.
Dozens of schemes tackling a wide range of issues, from dementia, obesity and smoking to eating healthily and overcoming social isolation, have been established during the past three years to meet the specific needs of local communities.
Durham County Council’s Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) and Wellbeing for Life teams have been working with residents and professionals to identify where help is needed and have supported the setting up of initiatives to tackle these issues with funding from a range of organisations including the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group and the council.
Details of the initiatives were presented to the County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, chair of the board and Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “The impact being made by a wide variety of projects across our county is impressive.
“Our partners, local residents and volunteers should be proud of their efforts to tackle health issues. I know from other local authorities that the work we are doing here in County Durham is being used as good practice
“By involving our local residents in identifying, developing and delivering these initiatives we can continue improving the health and wellbeing of all the county’s residents.”
More than 200 volunteers are supporting healthcare professionals to deliver a range of initiatives, which also recognise that wider issues such as employment, money issues, relationships with friends and family and access for children to play facilities can also have an impact on residents’ health and wellbeing.
A number of projects also focus specifically on supporting older and vulnerable residents, helping them to feel less isolated through schemes offering telephone befriending, volunteer drivers, arts activities and energy and benefits advice.
Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Health and wellbeing is an excellent example of how AAPs can take key strategic issues and help address them at a local level with local residents.
“For example, I am closely connected to the work of the Shildon Health Express, which sees the local AAP, Wellbeing for Life and partners working closely with the community to educate people on key local issues such as alcohol, smoking, healthy eating and the consumption of energy drinks.”