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Influencing Brent Council’s new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy

20/10/2021

Young woman holding sign that reads 'it starts with me'

We have been working with Brent Council, CCG and NHS Trusts since the start of the year to make sure that their new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy is designed with the voice of residents at its core – including those who don’t often have their opinions heard.  

The strategy will determine how health and wellbeing issues are tackled within Brent until 2025. We need to make sure that it prioritises the right areas, helping people in Brent to look after their health and wellbeing and providing support where it is needed most.

By working with a diverse range of partners – such as the Mental Health Forum, Carers’ Forum, Youth Parliament and Ashford Place centre for adults with dementia – we have been able to develop a clearer understanding of which issues matter most to Brent residents. This has been reported back to the council as part of the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy’s phase 2 consultation. This means that the views we collected will play a direct role in shaping the final strategy. 

Five priorities for a healthier borough

The strategy has focused on five priority areas, and part of our consultation work has involved testing these areas against the needs of Brent residents:

  • Healthy living: ensuring the healthy choice is the easy choice
  • Healthy places: creating and developing sustainable communities and places
  • Staying healthy: ensuring people can practice self-care, and know where and how to get the help they need when they need it
  • Healthy workforces: ensuring our workforces and systems recover rapidly post pandemic
  • Hearing ways of working: ensuring people can influence the design of the services they need or access, and ensuring our data is fit for purpose

Most of the people we spoke to agreed that building up support in these areas would be valuable for improving their health and wellbeing. We heard from many individuals who would like to take a more active role in managing their health, but felt that they currently lacked the resources to do so. Common concerns included a lack of accessible health information, poor access to outdoor spaces, and not enough engagement with those experiencing common health conditions.

Addressing these issues will be crucial ensuring that people feel able to make healthy choices, practice self-care, and visit the places that boost their wellbeing.

Bridging the health and wellbeing gap

During our consultation, we heard that many people in Brent felt that healthy living was negatively impacted by fundamental barriers to access such as low income, deprivation and high cost of living. With 149 languages spoken in the borough, there was also a concern that those who do not speak English as their first language do not have the same health information and resources available. To improve health outcomes across our borough, we need to think about the underlying difficulties that can make it harder for individuals take advantage of different resources.

We would like to say thank you to everyone who has worked with us during the phase 2 consultation. You can view our full report here.

The council are now moving into phase 3 of their consultation, which will give Brent residents and community groups an opportunity to comment on the draft strategy. They will then move into the final stage of preparation.

 

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