New hubs put health into the heart of the community

Four new health hubs are being launched in Hackney so residents can access a range of services and activities under one roof.

The hubs, which are funded by Hackney Council and run by local charity Shoreditch Trust, are based in community centres in four estates across the borough.

They are unique as they bring qualified health workers, employed by Homerton University Hospital, into the community to provide services that residents would usually need to go to a healthcare setting, such as a GP surgery, to access.

Health Improvement Workers will work alongside new community Health Coaches, who will support residents for up to eight weeks to help them identify their health goals and access services such as free exercise classes, support with weight loss, NHS health checks and help to stop smoking.

From February Health Coaches will be on three estates at Stamford Hill, Pembury and New Kingshold (near Wells St). A fourth hub, at Marsh Hill, is also set to open, and full services will be available in each Hub from April.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
“The Hackney Health Hubs will put high quality, free health services and activities into the heart of our estates. Health is one of the council’s top priorities and this innovative scheme will give residents more choice about where they access services and support to achieve their goals. Hackney’s community centres are a fantastic resource and the hubs will help realise their full potential.”
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

Delores Wilson, a resident on the Stamford Hill estate, said: “I think it’s a good idea that the health hub is on the estate. The best thing about this is that there is a Health Coach there to motivate me. My goal is to lose weight and that’s hard - it’s easy to lose but hard to keep off. They say 90 per cent of weight loss is to do with healthy eating. The greatest thing about signing up for me would be getting support with my diet and I can come and do exercise to keep the weight off. It would be nice to have someone there to talk to and explain things to me about keeping fit that I didn’t know before.”

Jo Evans, a Health Coach at the Stamford Hill health hub, said: “This is a really exciting scheme to be a part of because it will make health services and activities much more accessible to people who might not otherwise access them. I’m a local resident too, so I feel I have a good insight into the needs of the community and can work in a non-judgemental, collaborative way with local people to help them achieve their goals.”

Lana Simpson, Hackney Health Hubs Project Manager for Shoreditch Trust, said: “We’re very excited and proud to be delivering this innovative programme on behalf of Hackney Council. By combining professional health improvement activities with a community-focussed, Health Coach approach, we believe that we can create the perfect conditions to empower local residents and help them make the changes they’ve always wanted to make.”

Martin Lincoln, Lead Nurse for Sexual Health Services at Homerton Hospital, said: “There is a great deal of excited energy around this project. We have a good track record for collaborative partnership working and this joint enterprise offers Homerton Sexual Health Services the opportunity to deliver against our own Trust Values on the wider public health agenda meaning that for the first time we are involved in delivering a truly holistic approach to physical, sexual and emotional health care interventions that will benefit our local community with assistance towards some very positive health outcomes.”

The hubs are operating for an initial two year pilot period, after which they will be evaluated.

The Shoreditch Trust and Homerton Hospital are currently recruiting Health Coaches. If you are interested in applying find information on the Shoreditch Trust website.

For more information about the hubs contact Carole Desfontaines on 020 7033 8581 or visit the Shoreditch Trust website.