Healthy North Belfast event attendees

Healthy North Belfast presents its initial findings for the first time

Healthy North Belfast officially launched the initial findings of its appreciative inquiry at the Girdwood Community Hub on 27 June. This was an opportunity to publicly present the initial results from interviews with 1,014 north Belfast residents about their health and wellbeing. More than 100 local stakeholders, including political party representatives, statutory bodies, community groups and local residents, came to hear the findings.

Lord Mayor and north Belfast local John Finucane opened the workshop and praised the work we’ve done so far. He 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.”

The Lord Mayor acknowledged that north Belfast was often in the headlines for the wrong reasons but, in the same vein as our inquiry, he said we should focus on what is good and work on what makes north Belfast a vibrant place to live and work.

Irene Sherry then recapped on the story so far – where the idea for the appreciative inquiry came from and what work had already been carried out..

Guests were then asked to come reflect on what they feel makes north Belfast a great place to live, with answers ranging from mental resilience and strong family links to less traffic congestion, clean parks and plenty of green spaces.

Project manager Janice Smith presented the findings from the interviews with residents. This was one of the most interesting parts of the day and the focus was on amplifying the voices of residents.

Janice explained the methodology and statistics and said Healthy North Belfast now had the incredibly important role, being the custodian of the hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations of the local residents. She also guided everyone through group discussions aimed at coming up with ideas to help make north Belfast healthier and happier.

The workshop was a wonderful opportunity for local stakeholders to take part in conversations about health and wellbeing in north Belfast, to share and expand upon unique, imaginative ways to improve health outcomes in the area, and to agree upon the next steps for the project.

The Discovery stage of the appreciative inquiry is now complete, and now we are into the exciting and challenging “Dream” stage. The input from the attendees at our symposium will be vital in shaping this important stage.

The symposium gave us the opportunity to publicly present the findings from the first stage of our appreciative inquiry. If you want to see these, we’ve published under the title “Feeding The Dream” in our publications section, which you can find here.