Improving life expectancy - Why Wigan's getting ahead
A report was released by the government last week which looked at life expectancy and what more needs to be done to improve the health of the nation.
Wigan was the only case study featured in the report with our approach to improving health and wellbeing through The Deal cited as an example of best practice.
We’re unusual in that our rate of improvement when it comes to healthy life expectancy was faster than in similar areas and at a time when the England average has stalled.
And that’s fantastic news as it means we’ve got better chances of living longer.
We’ve only achieved this through working in partnership with the community. Our community alcohol champions, young health champions, dementia friends and autism friends have all played a major role in inspiring and supporting other local residents to improve their health.
For example the Communities in Charge of Alcohol scheme trains volunteers to become champions who can help friends, family and colleagues to rethink their drinking habits. There are now 31 champions based in Hag Fold, Atherton, who have helped their loved ones to reduce their drinking and to access specialist support.
We’ve also invested in community groups, through our Deal for Communities Investment Fund, with a specific focus on getting people active. We know if people are connected to groups and activities in their area it not only boosts their physical health but their mental health too.
We’re on the right road but there’s still more to be done and we’re always looking at how we can improve and what’s next for The Deal.
If it was something you felt passionate about and wanted to become a health champion, find out more about the roles available (external link).
Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health
Posted on Thursday 20th February 2020