Hackney Council awards £370k to community projects to improve health and happiness

Hackney Council has approved recommendations to award 32 community groups and projects a share of the £370,000 Healthier Hackney Fund.

The fund was launched last September and aims to find and support new approaches to tackling some of the borough’s most complex health challenges, in the areas of smoking, mental health, substance misuse and sexual health.

Dr Penny Bevan, Hackney Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The Healthier Hackney Fund aims to support community and voluntary groups and organisations to develop innovative and exciting approaches to address some of our most complex health problems. I am looking forward to seeing the projects develop over the coming months and hope that many more organisations come forward when we launch the scheme again in September.”

Almost £291,000 from the fund will be awarded to 13 community groups and organisations which have demonstrated how their project will make an impact to improve mental health or prevent young people from starting smoking.

Just over £68,000 will be awarded to nine organisations to test innovative ideas to tackle substance misuse and improve sexual health amongst high-risk groups, while almost £10,000 will be awarded to ten community groups to kick-start neighbourhood projects that will get residents helping each other to be healthy.

Many of the successful groups have also been able to secure extra funding from other sources to help run their projects. In total over £170,000 has been secured from organisations like Google and BBC Children in Need, meaning that the Healthier Hackney Fund has helped to attract additional funding into the borough.

In addition to funding, successful bidders will receive ongoing support from the Council’s public health team to help maximise the impact of projects with their specialist skills, knowledge and connections.The projects will also get a designated councillor ‘champion’. This will be one of Hackney’s elected members who will support them to build links with community organisations and residents to maximise their impact in the borough.

The second year of the Healthier Hackney Fund will open for applications in September 2015, and priority topics for funding will be announced nearer the time.

Find information about all of the successful projects.

Spotlight on funded projects

Healthy Activities

Hackney Chinese Community Services will be working with a community that has some of the highest rates of smoking in the borough. It aims to prevent young people from starting smoking by working with parents and grandparents to help them to quit. They will deliver a series of workshops focusing on the myths and facts about smoking that relate to the Chinese community, how smoking affects their health and the health of their children. The project will also train eight young bilingual Chinese and English-speaking peer mentors to support them to engage with younger peers to discourage them from taking up smoking.

Healthy Ideas

The Healthy Ideas stream supports organisations that have a new approach for addressing substance misuse or sexual health. Each successful project will be awarded up to £8,000 to test and evaluate their idea. Alcohol charity Alcohol Concern will work with two local social enterprises - Club Soda and Paper - to test new ways of making pubs and bars more welcoming to people who want to reduce their drinking. Working with businesses and customers, they will look at ways pubs and bars can make changes to their spaces and products to make it easier for people to cut down on their drinking or quit without having to stop socialising with friends and family.

Healthy Neighbourhoods

Beersheba-Living Well is a peer-to-peer support group based in a Hackney housing estate that offers a number of activities to support those living with or at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. They have been awarded £1,000 from the Healthier Hackney Fund to run a series of five diabetes events, which will enable participants to increase their understanding of the disease and become more confident in managing their health. The project aims to provide a supportive approach to reducing the number of people who suffer from type 2 diabetes within Black and Minority Ethnic and deprived communities.