Health & Wellbeing Strategy

Introduction

Health and wellbeing is a holistic concept, encompassing the physical, intellectual, emotional and social aspects of all our lives. Our health and wellbeing is influenced by many factors including lifestyle choices, education, employment, where we live and social contact. For some people achieving positive health and wellbeing is more challenging and that is what this Strategy needs to address and support.

In developing our work on health and wellbeing we should be mindful of these influences and be clear on where we can have an impact. We should recognise that the nature of some of these issues means measurable improvements can sometimes take many years to become apparent. This means giving careful consideration as to how we measure progress and success in this area of work. The Action Plan at the end of this document identifies the outputs that will be delivered as part of this Strategy.

FTC commissioned the Frome Town Profile from Somerset County Council. It contains a great deal of data and has been instrumental in providing information to support development of this Strategy. There is a summary of the most relevant data at the end of this document, following the Action Plan.

A Health and Wellbeing Vision for Frome

Frome will be a town where people live happy, healthy lives, where young and old alike make positive choices about their health and wellbeing, where people feel they have a sense of purpose and can contribute to their local community, whether by being a good neighbour and helping each other out or by getting involved in local community activities.

This vision underpins this Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan and builds on the aim in the Frome Town Council Strategy to create a ‘flourishing and active community of people and organisations working together’,

How we will work

Health and wellbeing is everyone’s business. Frome Town Council has developed this Strategy, but its foundations are rooted in working alongside and supporting other organisations and individuals from across town. Our role in delivering this Strategy is to:

Enable:

  • Encouraging and helping organisations to deliver work that supports people’s health and wellbeing
  • Offering practical support, such as fundraising advice and training, for community groups who work in Frome
  • Making funding opportunities available through Town Council grants
  • Providing support for volunteering

Engage:

  • Working with local communities where they’d like our support
  • Encouraging participation
  • Supporting community development

Coordinate:

  • Developing an overview of what’s happening across Frome in terms of ‘trends’ in health and wellbeing data
  • Understanding what’s being delivered by different partners
  • Awareness of any gaps in service delivery and development of plans to address these where possible

Look outward:

  • Developing an overview of service provision looking beyond Frome to what partners in Mendip, Somerset, Wiltshire and further afield are doing
  • Identifying and learning from good practice from elsewhere

Our health and wellbeing priorities

Healthy Lifestyles

Healthy lifestyles, in particular childhood obesity, physical activity and healthy eating, has emerged as a key priority for this strategy.

The number of overweight or obese children in Frome is something we should address. Obesity contributes to the onset of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. If the proportion of obese children continues to rise a whole generation may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents and so the impact of obesity on health and on local services should not be underestimated.

We are fortunate to live in a town where there is already a great deal happening in terms of supporting people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue the work we have already started on healthy lifestyles and we’ll work closely with partners in the town to enable more work to happen where it’s needed. We will link to other Town Council priorities on resilience and our outdoor spaces, for example, as there are many connections we can make between these and improving health and wellbeing / healthy lifestyles.

Young People’s Mental Health

Mental health is known to be intrinsic to many aspects of our lives – our ability to grow and develop, to learn and to be resilient. Positive mental wellbeing helps to protect us from stress and trauma and enables us to live healthier lifestyles and to manage long term conditions more effectively. Mental wellbeing is important for both individuals and their families but also for the communities in which we live.

Promoting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems should be key elements of our strategy because ignoring these things impacts on other health outcomes, on reducing inequalities and on preventing premature death.

Nationally, we know that over three quarters of mental health problems have emerged by the time young people reach the age of 20. We know that the rate of hospital admissions for self-harm is higher in Frome than in Somerset and England and several agencies have raised concerns about the provision of services to support young people locally, both in terms of levels of support available in Frome, securing of funding and awareness raising of what is available locally.

Young people and mental health is an issue already being addressed in Frome and a number of actions have been developed that FTC and partners will focus on. These will enable us to work on a coherent plan for young people’s mental health in Frome, both in terms of prevention and the availability of information and support for young people and families in need of help.

Literacy

One in six adults in the UK has a literacy level below that expected of an 11 year old. People with low levels of literacy are more likely to struggle in school and less likely to gain qualifications and to find employment. Parents with low literacy find it harder to support their children through their education. And low literacy can affect people’s health – with people likely to lead less healthy and therefore shorter lives if they are challenged by reading and writing.

We know in Frome that some people experience low levels of literacy, with people struggling to understand important correspondence and to complete applications for benefits and jobs for example. Intergenerational low literacy levels have also been identified by Frome schools as a challenge.

Low levels of literacy remain an issue that could affect FTC’s Corporate strategic aims of increasing wellbeing, prosperity and environmental sustainability / resilience. Literacy has therefore been identified as a priority for FTC to work on with partners. The Frome Literacy Action group consists of interested parties who have considered a town wide response to the problem and commissioned the National Literacy Trust to explore the challenge we face. As a result of this work, a Literacy Action Plan has been produced, implementation started and literacy actions within the Health and Wellbeing Strategy support its delivery.

Conclusion

Health and wellbeing is a broad area of work, with many different factors influencing it. Frome Town Council is committed to working with partners to support local people and communities to protect and improve health and wellbeing. We are also committed to working across the Council, recognising that so much of what we do across our work on prosperity and the environment influences health and wellbeing.

This Strategy is our way of prioritising what we can help to deliver over the next few years. We will always keep our eyes on how things are changing and adjust our priorities if necessary. We are keen to work with local communities and people on what has been identified for Frome, to start and finish projects and to start to see improvements in outcomes for people living in our town.

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy Work Programme will be regularly updated, and we will review this Strategy on an annual basis, reporting back both to the Health and Wellbeing Forum and Council meetings as appropriate.

Last updated 26 January 2018