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Shaping Places for Healthier Lives: Northumberland Council

The Heart of Blyth project will create the conditions for a safer and stronger community to flourish by means of improving how people relate to each other, how Blyth is seen by others and how Blyth looks in order to reduce fear of crime and improve the wellbeing and health of people living in Blyth.

Outdoor poster with a positive message: Be Kind. Let's look out for one another.

In engaging with communities experiencing health inequalities in Northumberland, residents said that there were factors negatively impacting on their health and well-being including anti-social behaviour, drug use, crime, inequalities and job losses.

People living in specified wards in Blyth, experienced poor health outcomes and health inequalities, with significantly worse income deprivation, child poverty, child development, GCSE achievement and limiting long term illnesses than other parts of England. The wards also had the highest levels of crime and antisocial behaviour in Northumberland. 

Research shows that people experiencing greatest income inequalities are more likely to be fearful of crime and experience poorer subjective wellbeing and evidence suggests that interventions incorporating community engagement using asset-based approaches have a positive impact on health and on reducing health inequalities. 

Residents said that opportunities to come together, increase community pride, work together towards a common aim, to be involved creatively in decisions affecting them, would improve their health and wellbeing. These factors would also reduce fear of crime which also has a negative impact on health and wellbeing. 

Over the next three years, the Heart of Blyth project aims to:

  • Increase a sense of community pride
  • Involve the community in developing the next phase of the HoB project
  • Improve the quality of relationships
  • Provide opportunities in the form of activities and events to bring the community together
  • Providing opportunities for residents and neighbours to come together, build connections, strengthen relationships, exchange knowledge and work towards a shared purpose
  • Use creative and co-designed approaches to grow community pride, develop a positive reputation and identity which can be promoted and communicated within the town and to visitors
  • Harness the ideas and contributions residents shared..ensure residents influence local decisions by providing opportunities to get involved with the HoB project…and also wider developments in the town.

Read more about the progress made so far and the lessons learned in the Heart of Blyth case study.

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