Launch of €13m Healthy Communities Programme
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, and Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, launched a new healthy communities programme worth €13m to support increased health and wellbeing services to 19 communities in Ireland.
Healthy Communities is a new cross-government initiative to deliver increased health and wellbeing services to 19 community areas across Ireland. The programme will be delivered in partnership with the HSE, local authorities, local communities, statutory, voluntary and community groups. The investment will fund new posts including staff working at community level to engage, support and coordinate these activities in an effective manner.
Speaking at the launch in the Darndale Bell Centre, Minister Donnelly said, “I am delighted to officially launch Healthy Communities. The goal of the Healthy Communities Programme is to improve the long-term health and wellbeing of the people living in these communities. These initiatives will be delivered in partnership with a number of groups working together to provide a range of dedicated services to build lasting improvements in health and wellbeing.”
An additional one-off total fund of €4.75m is also being made available, with up to €250,000 per community. The focus of the Healthy Communities Community Enhancement Scheme is to support projects through the local authorities that will positively impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live within the Programme Areas.
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.
Minister Feighan said, “taking an evidence-based approach, this work will build on existing programmes in these areas and mobilise available resources to address local needs to promote health and wellbeing. The 19 areas chosen to participate in this programme are diverse and have distinct needs and requirements. Each programme will be tailored to the local needs of the community to build sustainable improvements in the health and wellbeing for people of all ages living in these communities.”
Helen Deely, Head of HSE Health and Wellbeing said, “we are really pleased to see our partnership working and health and wellbeing programmes reach into the communities where they are most needed. We can help build the overall wellbeing of these communities through the increased delivery of supports to quit smoking, improve healthy eating and improve mental wellbeing and reduce isolation. For example the increased rollout of parenting programmes with Tusla under Sláintecare Healthy Communities is one of the most fundamental and positive things we can do to support parents and children’s health and wellbeing.”
Healthy Communities will support the physical and mental health of the communities as well as support improvement in the wider determinants of health in those communities, such as education, housing, social support and the built environment.
Representing the County and City Management Association and the local government sector, Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council Chief Executive said, “local authorities are very happy to partner in the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme and further develop our engagement with state agencies and the community and voluntary sector to ensure the health and wellbeing needs of our communities are supported.”
“Sláintecare Healthy Communities will take an approach, focusing on wider health determinants in which local government can play a crucial role given our close connections to our communities and our important role in community development, housing, social supports, public space and the built environment.”