Community can mean different things to different people but we are all part of a community whether it is based on where we live, an interest, a culture, a language, a background, social or occupation.
Through a community development approach, communities can be supported to address health and social wellbeing issues and reduce health inequalities to develop healthy, sustainable communities.
Two definitions of community development are:
“Community Development is about strengthening and bringing about change in communities. It consists of a set of methods which can broaden vision and capacity for social change and approaches, including consultation, advocacy and relationships with local groups. It is a way of working, informed by certain principles which seeks to encourage communities – people who live in the same areas or who have something else in common – to tackle for themselves the problems which they face and identify to be important, and which aims to empower them to change things by developing their own skills, knowledge and experience, and by working in partnerships with other groups and statutory agencies.”
(DHSSPS Regional Strategy, 1997-2002)
“Community development is a long-term value based process which aims to address imbalances in power and bring about change founded on social justice, equality and inclusion. The process enables people to organise and work together to:
- identify their own needs and aspirations
- take action to exert influence on the decisions which affect their lives
- improve the quality of their own lives, the communities in which they live, and societies of which they are a part.”
(National Occupational Standards for Community Development, 2009)
Health Literacy Workshop
Health Literacy workshop as part of its commitment to tackling health inequalities.
The Borough’s Community Plan, entitled ‘A Better Future Together’, includes an action to tackle health inequalities by improving health literacy. Evidence shows that low health literacy can prevent people accessing and understanding health information.
The Public Health Agency, in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and other Community Planning partners are considering the importance of health literacy and its effect on health inequalities in the local area. A key objective of the workshop was to explore with partners how best to contribute to and promote future action to raise awareness of and improve health literacy across the area.
Welcoming delegates and speakers to the event, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Sean Bateson said: “The Community Plan is based on achieving real results for people in our local area. I commend all those who have assisted in the development of our Community Plan so far and look forward to continuing to work together with our statutory partners for ‘A Better Future Together’ for all in Causeway Coast and Glens.”
Elaine O’Doherty, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, Public Health Agency said: “Research has found that more than 60% of working age adults in England have difficulty understanding some health information. The Causeway Coast and Glens Community Planning Health Literacy Workshop highlights how important it is for all Community Planning partners, including Health and Social Care, Education, Communities, Councils and others to work together to reduce barriers to improved communication and better public understanding of health messages and information. The workshop, with input from experts, has helped those attending plan how all organisations can improve health literacy skills and achieve effective communication. This is important to ensure people in Northern Ireland can use key health messages and information to look after and improve the health of individuals, families and communities.”
During the event, keynote speaker Joanne Protheroe, Professor of General Practice at Keele University, presented on ‘Health Literacy: What is it, why is it important and what can we do?’ while other speakers included Ann Marie McStocker, NICHI Health Alliance, Joanne Morgan, Community Development Health Network and Claire Ramsey, Health and Wellbeing, Northern Health & Social Care Trust.
Community Planning is one of the responsibilities of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and its statutory partners. The Community Plan for Causeway Coast and Glens represents extensive partnership working across the whole range of public services including health, education, public safety, housing, our communities, the environment and the economy.
Community Planning is about agreeing and setting out a shared vision and then identifying what needs to be done to deliver that vision. It’s about people, communities and organisations coming together to improve local well-being and quality of life, and making sure that plans, strategies, priorities and programmes at all levels integrate with each other.
‘Putting People First’, Mid and East Antrim’s first Community Plan was officially launched on Tuesday 6th June. A huge amount of work has gone in to developing a Plan that will help us realise our Vision of a ‘Strong, Vibrant, Safe and Inclusive Mid and East Antrim’.
Mid And East Antrim Community Plan
‘Putting People First’
Causeway Coast & Glens Community Plan
Antrim And Newtownabbey Community Plan
‘Love Living Here’
Mid Ulster Community Plan
‘Our Community Plan’