Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, today launched the first Sláintecare Healthy Community in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Launched nationally in October 2021, Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a cross-Government initiative to deliver increased health and wellbeing services to 19 community areas across Ireland. This programme will be delivered locally in partnership with the HSE, Wicklow County Council, statutory, voluntary and community groups as well as the local community. The programme will also fund new posts including staff working at community level within Wicklow County Council and the HSE to engage, support and coordinate support and services to the community in an effective manner.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said: “I am delighted that Bray is the first of the Sláintecare Health Communities local launches to take place.
“The Healthy Communities programme will support not only the physical and mental health of the people of Bray; but will also support improvement in the wider determinants of health such as in education, social support and the built environment.”
Speaking at today’s launch, Minister Feighan said: “These locally commissioned community partners who have an existing reach and engagement into the Bray community will be a key asset to the programme as they are already imbedded into your community.
“Taking an evidence-based approach, this work will build on existing health and wellbeing programmes in the Bray community and mobilise available resources to address local needs.”
Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council said: “As Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, I am delighted that Bray is included in the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme and the Council looks forward to working with our partners in the Department of Health and the HSE and the wider community in Bray, to enhance the health and wellbeing agenda.”
To ensure the area of Bray have access to the full enhanced health and wellbeing programme, a core group of services will be established and operated by the HSE. These services include Stop Smoking Advisors, QUIT smoking services, Parenting Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy, Social Prescribing, and Make Every Contact Count (MECC). Better access to this range of services will help improve and promote healthier lifestyle behaviours with the aim of supporting the community’s wellbeing
Aisling Heffernan, Head of Service for HSE Health and Wellbeing for Community Healthcare East stated: “Health inequality impacts on life expectancy, the risk of chronic disease and the general health of a person. HSE Community Healthcare East welcomes the significant investment in Bray under the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme to allow us to work in partnership with Wicklow County Council and local community groups to further enhance supports for tobacco cessation, healthy eating, parenting and social prescribing in the area. This investment and partnership approach will empower people to make healthier lifestyle choices to improve their overall physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
A once off total fund of €250,000 has been made available. The focus of this fund, the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Community Enhancement Scheme, is to support projects through Wicklow County Council that will positively impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live within the Bray area. This scheme has demonstrated a collaborative approach with Wicklow County Council, who worked alongside the local community and stakeholders to identify projects that support the increased use of, and access to, amenities in their areas and that invoke an improved sense of community.
This enhancement fund will enable various projects such as the installation of three community kitchens, which will facilitate the delivery of healthy eating and cookery courses; alongside the installation of calisthenics equipment and playground bouldering rocks and the refurbishment of a sports pavilion and playing pitches in Ballywaltrim.
NOTES TO EDITOR
Sláintecare Healthy Communities
On October 20, 2021, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, launched a new €13m Sláintecare initiative to support increased health and wellbeing services to 19 communities in Ireland.
The 19 Healthy community are all SICAP areas and the Department of Health worked alongside the HSE health intelligence unit with their expertise in the development of Health Atlas Ireland in choosing the communities. The 19 communities span 14 local authorities and are a mix of urban and rural areas.
The 19 communities chosen are:
- Athlone & Mullingar (Westmeath)
- Athy (Kildare)
- Ballymun (Dublin)
- Bray (Wicklow)
- Cavan Town & County (Cavan)
- Cherry Orchard (Dublin)
- Clondalkin (Dublin)
- Clonmel (Tipperary)
- Enniscorthy & Wexford Town (Wexford)
- Finglas & Cabra (Dublin)
- Gaeltacht (Donegal)
- Inishowen (Donegal)
- Kilmore & Priorswood (Dublin)
- Limerick City (Limerick)
- Longford Town (Longford)
- North Cork City (Cork)
- Tallaght (Dublin)
- Waterford City (Waterford)
- West Mayo (Mayo)
Key HSE Health and Wellbeing components
Social Prescribing: A Social Prescribing link worker will provide interventions and referrals to community-based services in the statutory and non-statutory sector. Social prescribing offers GPs and other health professionals a means of referring people to a range of non-clinical community supports which can have significant benefits for their overall health and wellbeing and has been used to target social isolation, loneliness and emerging mental health difficulties.
Stop Smoking Advisor: A Stop Smoking Advisor will provide 1-1 support to quit smoking including the provision of NRT or other Stop Smoking medication. They will also promote and support the extension of smoke free environments. While Ireland has made great strides in reducing tobacco consumption, levels of smoking in Ireland continue require concerted effort to support the continued development of a tobacco-free society where people can live longer and healthier lives free from the detrimental effects of tobacco.
We Can Quit: We Can Quit is a friendly and supportive 12-week programme, providing group behavioural support, nicotine replacement therapy and other stop smoking medication, to help attendees quit smoking and stay quit for good. This group programme has been proven to support people around their smoking by utilising peer and social support as well as professional input
Parenting Programmes: Parenting Programmes will provide families with greater access to evidence-based parenting programmes. Parenting programmes have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to improve child and parental mental health and wellbeing.
Healthy Food Made Easy: The Healthy Food Made Easy (HFME) programme will provide a user-friendly nutrition and cookery course that helps people increase their skills to implement a healthy diet, plan meals on a budget and make easy to cook meals.
MECC: The Making Every Contact Count (MECC) programme will work with local health professionals to ensure they have the up-to-date skills to deliver brief interventions and advice for all patients regarding healthy behaviours (smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, diet and nutrition). This will see an increase in service users and patients being advised to make healthy lifestyle choices and directed to supporting resources and programmes to do so.
Key local authority components
Each of the respective local authorities will coordinate and support the SHCP with the Local Community Development Committees and their existing Healthy City and Healthy County plans as well as recruiting Healthy Community Local Development Officers to coordinate activity from a local authority perspective. This increase in resource for local authorities is aimed at integrating the health and wellbeing agenda with their broader agenda and supporting a social determinants approach to health inequalities.
Local Partner components
Key to local operational delivery are the locally commissioned community partners such as the Local Partnership Companies, Family Resource Centres and others who have an existing reach and engagement into these communities. The Healthy Food Made Easy (HFME) as well as the Social Prescribing initiatives will be delivered by local community agencies such as these to build on existing programmes and assets at community level.
Community Enhancement Fund
As part of our investment in the 19 communities, we have made available a total fund of €4.75m which equates to up to 250,000 per community. The focus of this fund, the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Community Enhancement Scheme, is to support projects that will positively impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live within the 19 communities. This scheme has demonstrated a collaborative approach with local authorities working together with the local community and stakeholders to identify projects that support the increased use of, and access to, amenities in their areas and that invoke an improved sense of community. We have seen some excellent applications as part of process. Among the projects to receive funding are Community Garden and Growing initiatives, Health Activity Hubs and social spaces and recreational development and enhancement initiatives. These include outdoor table tennis tables, upgraded walking and running trails which are accessible for all, innovative natural play areas for children, additional outdoor furniture, bike fleets, and many more interesting and noteworthy projects.