Healthy New Towns programme nominated for national award
A project that works to reduce social and health inequalities by helping people to ‘live well’ in their own community has been nominated for a national award.
The Healthy New Towns (HNT) Programme was set up in Darlington in 2016, one of 10 towns chosen by NHS England to deliver projects that could support people to improve their quality of life, health outcomes and community cohesion.
The scheme, led by Darlington Borough Council, alongside local NHS , academic, housing development and technology partners , has now been nominated in the public health category at the Local Government Chronicle Awards.
A team from the HNT programme will present more information about the programme to a panel of judges before a winner is announced in March next year.
The project initially focused on the Red Hall area of town, with a number of schemes developed with partners to work on long standing issues of deprivation, poor health outcomes and child poverty.
Among the initiatives developed by the programme were the Darlington HNT Design Principles, which were adopted by national housebuilder Keepmoat, a partner in the scheme, that mean a house can adapt as a person grows older, helping them to retain independence for as long as possible.
As well as improvements to existing council housing stock, the principles will be rolled out in a new estate of 81 properties under construction at the Fairway development in Red Hall.
Other HNT projects delivered in Red Hall were a school holiday hunger scheme, the establishment of a Friends of Red Hall group to give residents a stronger voice in their community and the construction of a new play park and outdoor gym, as well as a dedicated walking route.
Health projects have also been delivered by partnering with NHS providers, including digital care initiatives that reduce unnecessary hospital visits and analysis of local populations to distribute health and social care services to meet local needs.
Miriam Davidson, director of public health at Darlington Borough Council, said: “We are delighted that the hard work across all partners has been recognised. More importantly the legacy of the Healthy New Towns programme will carry on in the council’s plans to promote healthy economic growth across the borough. “
Councillor Andrew Scott, cabinet member for health and partnerships, said: “Healthy New Towns has made a great impact in the last two years, not just in Red Hall but across the town as good practice is shared more widely.
“I congratulate the team on their nomination for this award and look forward to finding out the final result.”