We are developing and testing a process that embeds research capacity and expertise in LAs. Working closely with our partners in initially five LA (Bath & North East Summerset, Belfast, Cariff, Edinburgh, Newcastle), we have identified a current priority for improving the health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities of people living in each of these area. By building relationships between academics, practitioners and policy makers we will enable the LA in each area to access and create new evidence that is relevant for decision making about the priority issue.
Newcastle upon Tyne
In Newcastle we are working with the local authority on tackling adverse childhood experience in early years as part of an integrated system-wide approaches to childhood development, which Newcastle City Council is implementing. By addressing this topic the Council wants to support and reduce mental disorders and other mental health conditions in the city. This project builds on existing work in the city around 1001 critical days and placed-based approaches. The approach will promote individual and community level resilience factors in supporting child mental wellbeing. Resilience factors are not captured within local performance metrics and require a novel approach to understand impact, on both children and their families in relation to reducing childhood mental health.
Bath and North East Somerset
In Bath and North East Summerset we are working with the local authority on tackling climate change, specifically looking at reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, and increasing physical activity through changes to the transport system. Through addressing this topic the authority wants to reduce physical inactivity within the local area. This project is delivered within the national context of the COVID-19 response and the locally declared climate emergency. The approach will promote activities such as cycling infrastructure and physical activity, healthy eating & healthy weight partnership structures. This approach will see changes in shifts away from car use, to active travel whilst improving health of the population and ensuring a sustainable future for residents.
In Belfast we are working with the local authority on addressing connectivity & active travel, looking in detail at active travel. Belfast City Council’s ambition is to ‘create a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city’. Taking a city-wide approach to connectivity & active travel promotes an embedded, joined up delivery across partners. This is reflected in the numerous strategic plans and strategies within Belfast. This approach will prompt resident behaviour change and see reduced CO2 emissions with shifts away from car use, to active travel whilst improving health of the population and ensuring a sustainable future for residents.
In Cardiff we have worked closely with national government, Welsh local government, and Public Health Wales to identify a shortlist of priority areas, with mental health identified as a strategic priority area. This priority area sits within the national context as Welsh Government sets out a vision for a connected and healthier Wales within its Social Isolation strategy and forthcoming Obesity strategy. Stakeholders across all 22 local authorities were invited to an online consultation event in which 32 attendees discussed the consortia aims, the priority area and the process for submitting project expressions of interest. Nine expressions of interest were received and through an iterative screening process, involving multiple stakeholders including a public member, one local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taf, was selected and will focus on reducing social isolation and loneliness to improve mental health outcomes.
In Edinburgh, we have used links with PHS, NHS Lothian Health Board and COSLA to broker relationships in the LA and explore priority topics.