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New £250k fund launched for health innovation

People are being invited to put forward their ideas to improve health and happiness with the launch of the second Healthier Hackney Fund.

Following the success of last year’s Fund, which supported 32 projects across the borough, the Council has set aside £250,000 for a new batch of innovative initiatives.

This year’s focus is on creative ways to tackle obesity, address sexual health and substance misuse, and encourage communities to work together to improve wellbeing. There are three types of grant:

  • Healthy Activities will offer up to £30,000 to support projects which bring new approaches to address sexual health and substance misuse.
  • Healthy Ideas is a research fund that offers £12,000 for innovative approaches to either addressing the wider causes of obesity, or supporting local groups to challenge particular health risks in their communities.
  • Healthy Neighbourhoods will provide £1,000 to kickstart initiatives which support health and wellbeing in local communities.

The spirit behind the Fund is to promote local initiatives which complement established approaches to tackling health issues.

A launch event is taking place at the Hackney Empire on Friday, 18 September, and is an opportunity for individuals, social enterprises and community and voluntary groups to discuss their ideas, meet the Council’s Public Health Team and potential partners.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
We had some fantastic ideas following the launch of last year’s fund, many of which have now become realities that are having a positive impact in a wide range of communities across the borough.

“The fund has proved to be a great way for our Public Health team to work with organisations from across the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors to create innovative solutions to the many long standing health issues faced by our residents.

“Councils are having to work smarter to achieve more with less money, and a key part of this is sharing ideas, skills and resources with people and organisations who have the insight, drive and compassion to make a difference in their communities.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

The launch event for the new fund will introduce the grants programme to interested parties, outline the key changes made following the learning from the first year, explain the application process and the priority health issues covered by the grants, and allow time for ideas sharing between organisations. It is also an opportunity for those interested in applying to meet the Public Health team and discuss any initial ideas for projects. It runs from 9.30am to 12.30pm, starting with a presentation before opening out into informal discussions and workshops. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Applicants have until 6 November to submit an expression of interest. A selection of these will be assessed and shortlisted, and then invited to complete a full application. The successful applicants will be chosen from this group, with their projects starting from April 2016.

Information on the Fund and how to register for the launch is available on the Healthier Hackney Fund webpage. The page also details the full list of last year’s projects. 

Examples from each of the three categories include:

Healthy ActivitiesHackney Chinese Community Services is 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 supporting their parents and grandparents to quit. The project is delivering a series of workshops focusing on the myths and facts about smoking that relate to the Chinese community, as well as how smoking affects their health and the health of their children. The project will 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

National charity Brook Young People is training a few young women to share messages and information about STIs and sexual health with their friends, in informal settings. It is hoped that this will increase the knowledge and confidence of their friends, and reduce the barriers often associated with more formal settings. It will also help test the effectiveness of different ways of sharing sexual health information among young women.

Healthy Neighbourhoods

Beersheba-Living Well is a peer-to-peer support group based in a Hackney housing estate which offers a number of activities to support those living with or at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. They have been awarded £1,000 to run a series of five diabetes events, targeted at the higher risk Black and Minority Ethnic and deprived communities, which will enable participants to increase their understanding of the disease and become more confident in managing their health.