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Housing and Health groups work to improve Wellbeing across Oldham

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Housing and Health groups work to improve Wellbeing across Oldham

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Published by Lucy Bradwell for The Regenda Group in Housing and also in Communities, Health, Local Government

Bill Lovat, Regional Director at Regenda Bill Lovat, Regional Director at Regenda

The Oldham Housing Investment Partnership (OHIP) has launched a new approach to health and wellbeing across Oldham, a town with a lower life expectancy for men and women than the average for England according to the Department of Health.

Representatives from OHIP, including the main providers of social housing in Oldham; councillors and members of the borough’s new Health & Wellbeing Board held their first joint meeting to develop a number of actions to address the major health problems in the town.  This will include a focus on smoking and alcohol related illnesses and on improving Oldhamers’ levels of physical activity.

Bill Lovat, Chair of OHIP and Regional Director at Regenda said: “These are difficult times for many people and we face health challenges as a borough.  Yet so many of those we meet and talk to are ready to get involved, are ready to improve their own health and the health of their community.  This is certainly the right time for housing and health agencies to be working together more closely.”

The joint programme of action will include:

-          Partners will be recruiting more Community Wellbeing Champions across Oldham to develop a community approach to improving health and wellbeing

-          Health and housing will be working together more closely to design shared programmes to target neighbourhoods in Oldham that have the greatest health problems

-          Developing new approaches to helping people to stop smoking, by applying experience and practices which have been successful in similar areas, such as community based mutual support

Kath Miller, Oldham PFI Project Manager and lead organiser for the event, said: “Battling social isolation is vital and there are many successful projects where we have worked together and made a real difference in communities.”

Cath Green, Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board Member and Chief Executive of FCHO said: “The Health and Wellbeing Board will lead and champion change across communities, sectors and organisations.  We need to make sure health and wellbeing is everyone’s business!”

Councillor Hugh McDonald, Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding at Oldham Council and a member of the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board said: “We want to encourage people and partnerships – including the private sector – to work together to tackle the health issues for the benefit of the people of Oldham.”

OHIP is a partnership of the social housing providers in Oldham. Its members manage over 19,000 households, which represent 23% of the households in the borough.  The partnership provides training and employment opportunities within Oldham, employing 950 people.  It invests in Oldham by building new homes, delivering planned maintenance programmes and spearheading regeneration in the community.

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