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Liverpool Housing Trust wins award for improving customers' health

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Liverpool Housing Trust wins award for improving customers' health

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Published by RichardBramwell for Symphony Housing Group in Housing and also in Environment, Health

Liverpool Housing Trust (LHT) has been praised for “making a real difference to the quality of people’s lives” by improving residents’ wellbeing and tackling health inequalities.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has awarded the social landlord a Housing for Health and Wellbeing Award in recognition of huge efforts it is making in communities across Merseyside.

From working with tenants to grow healthy fruit and veg, to supporting residents with mental health and alcohol problems, LHT’s commitment is evident at all levels in the organisation, says the CIH.

Work singled out for praise includes:

  • LHT playing an active role in partnerships – and leading a number of them – to improve people’s health by renovating homes; boosting energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty; providing debt and welfare advice; and supporting older people and vulnerable tenants.
  • Developing a Health and Wellbeing Strategy to make sure LHT’s work is linked to both NHS wellbeing targets and the priorities of the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board.
  • Opening up LHT buildings to the wider community for health activities, and employing staff to deliver projects and services to improve wellbeing.
  • Working with residents to bring communities together, carrying out environmental improvements and creating communal areas for fruit and veg to be grown.
  • LHT’s May Logan Healthy Living Centre in Bootle, which provides more than 70 services delivered with a range of partners. As well as a café and crèche, these include a weight management programme, free family cookery courses, quit-smoking sessions and mental health support. In total, 48,814 people used services at the centre in 2012/13.

In its judgement, the CIH praises the “depth and breadth of work carried out in relation to health and wellbeing” at LHT, part of Symphony Housing Group.

It adds: “The commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents and communities is evident at all levels in the organisation. The board and executive team show strong leadership around the importance of identifying health needs and addressing health inequalities. This is cascaded down through the organisation so that all service areas take responsibility for improving health and wellbeing.”

Sue Westwater, managing director of LHT, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award and recognition from the CIH.

“The work we are doing is a real ‘Team LHT’ effort and shows our commitment to making a difference to our tenants. Allying our work to health priorities is crucial to us making a difference, particularly given the real difficulties that many of our customers are facing.

“The impact of the Government’s welfare reforms is leaving people struggling to eat and heat their homes, and other cutbacks and economic difficulties are also having a major impact on our tenants’ health and wellbeing.

“We’ve always said that LHT is about much more than bricks and mortar. It’s great that the CIH has recognised our work and our efforts will continue.”

The CIH Housing for Health and Wellbeing Award recognises organisations that demonstrate housing’s contribution to local health priorities.

LHT submitted 50 services and projects for consideration by the CIH, which carried out visits, reviewed documents and interviewed board members, staff and partners.

An organisation must show it provides affordable, supported and secure homes; works in partnership with others to improve health; brings communities together to improve wellbeing; and offers support that prevents, reduces or delays the need for more intensive health or social care.

Also singled out for praise was LHT’s commitment to reducing residents’ household energy bills and tackling fuel poverty.

The report said: “This strong focus helps maximise opportunities to provide healthy homes that are warm, affordable, help manage long-term health conditions, reduce the worry and stress of high fuel bills, and help them [residents] to stay well.”

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