Residents Have Their Say On Health & Wellbeing

Local stakeholders in north Belfast have met today to discuss the results of research into the health and wellbeing of over 1,000 residents in the area.

Political representatives, statutory bodies, community groups and the charity sector met at Girdwood Community Hub today, Thursday 27 June, to address the issue.

The event was hosted by Healthy North Belfast, a multi-agency partnership that is carrying out an appreciative inquiry into how to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for those living in north Belfast.

Over the past few months, volunteers have carried out interviews with 1,014 local people who told them what they love about where they live and what matters most to their health and wellbeing. 

Health outcomes in the area are recognised as being one of the lowest in Northern Ireland. Baseline research, carried out as part of the appreciative inquiry, found it to have lower life expectancy and a higher preventable death rate. It also found an increase in the suicide rate, infant mortality and cancer incidences.

Healthy North Belfast is supported by over 30 community, statutory and voluntary organisations including Ashton, Belfast City Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Ulster University. North Belfast MLAs Carál Ní Chuilín, Paula Bradley and Nichola Mallon are also part of the partnership, along with north Belfast residents. 
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The appreciative inquiry will publish an action plan in late 2019 that will aim to improve health and wellbeing for everyone in north Belfast.

At the Healthy North Belfast symposium Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, said: "I'm proud to be from North Belfast. We're fortunate to have brilliant people and wonderful resources here, and it's important to recognise and build on our strengths. 

"But there is also a serious issue around health inequalities in the north of the city. Healthy North Belfast is designed to combat health inequality by putting residents' voices at the heart of this inquiry, so that every citizen of north Belfast can live healthy, happy lives to their full potential."

Irene Sherry of Healthy North Belfast said: "Healthy North Belfast is an ambitious appreciative inquiry that has already involved contributions from dozens of statutory, community and voluntary organisations and over 1,000 residents. 

"It was inspiring to feel the passion and enthusiasm in the room at today's event. We are all committed to working together to make North Belfast a healthier and happier place to live."

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council John Smyth added: "I am delighted that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is playing a key role in this exciting and innovative project. 

"We are committed to engaging with our residents, and it is great to see so many people took the opportunity to share their hopes, dreams and experiences of health and wellbeing with us.

"I look forward to seeing some of many great ideas from this platform come into fruition."


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