Healthy North Belfast community group meeting

Putting residents’ voices at the heart of improving health and wellbeing

What do you like about living in North Belfast? What makes you healthy and happy? These are a few of the questions recently asked by the Healthy North Belfast project team who are designing a plan for the area’s future that is informed by local voices and experiences. As part of this, we have just completed a survey of over 1,000 residents in north Belfast.

This project is all about giving residents the opportunity to make a difference and help shape the future health of their local area. “North Belfast has assets, people and places to be proud of, and we want to learn more about these resources. The best way to do this is to ask local people. They understand what works to help them feel healthy and well better than anyone,” Healthy North Belfast Facilitator, Richard O’Rawe explained. “We want to build on what is strong, not what’s wrong and that’s why we wanted people to get involved, and get their voice heard,” Richard O’Rawe added.

The aim of Healthy North Belfast is to improve health and wellbeing for everyone in North Belfast. “We intend to focus on doing more of what the community tells us is already working, build on what works well and look at new projects or partnerships that can have a positive impact on health and quality of life. This will really make a change for our generation and those generations to come,” Richard said.

Healthy North Belfast has secured the support of major government, health and academic agencies and is actively supported by DUP, SF and SDLP North Belfast MLAs. Ashton facilitates the multi-agency task group that drives the project and includes: North Belfast residents, Lighthouse, NICVA, Ulster University, Belfast Healthy Cities, PHA, PSNI, Housing Executive, Department of Justice, Strategic Investment Board, Department of Health, Belfast City Council, Victims & Survivors Service, Department for Communities, Department of Education and the Health and Social Care Board and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The task group will now listen to what residents have said and work together to develop an action plan to improve health and wellbeing in North Belfast. This will be published at the end of 2019. Keep up to date with Healthy North Belfast on Facebook @healthynorthbelfast and Twitter @healthynbelfast. Strike up a conversation about this work using the hashtag #healthynorthbelfast. If you would like to find out more, contact project manager Janice Smith on 028 9032 2289 or email janice.smith@ashtoncentre.com.