On 22 February, Belfast Healthy Cities hosted an election hustings event in collaboration with the MAC, as part of the MAC Question Time series. A panel of Assembly candidates including Claire Hanna from SDLP, Pat Sheehan from Sinn Féin and Mike Nesbitt from UUP responded to questions from an audience of over 70 health sector professionals, chaired by BBC health correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly.
The challenge of how to address increasing health inequality was discussed at a seminar on 18 January. The Reducing Inequalities: Getting Results seminar took place at Queen’s University Belfast and saw more than 100 professionals across sectors come together to hear speakers from Slovenia and Manchester share their experience of tackling inequalities through direct policy action and preventative measures.
The fourth annual WHO Belfast Healthy Cities Awards has taken place with organisations being recognised for their work aimed at tackling health inequality and promoting wellbeing in Belfast.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Brian Kingston presented awards to winning and highly commended projects in four categories: Promoting Health Equity; Engaging for Change; Healthy Places; Healthy Living.
The first joint meeting of UK Healthy Cities Network and National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network, took place in Belfast on Thursday 1 December. The two networks then joined together with the Healthy Ageing Task Force for the final session of their 2 day meeting.
A supportive built environment contributes to everyone’s health and wellbeing. Children and older people are two key groups who particularly benefit from environments that provide easy access to services and encourage active living and social interaction. Children and older people tend to spend more time in their local neighbourhoods than others, and can therefore contribute valuable knowledge and expertise of how local spaces work. Both groups, however, have specific needs that need to be taken into consideration in planning the built environment.
The built environment can contribute to mental wellbeing, or affect other risk factors for poor mental wellbeing. This seminar, in partnership with North Belfast Partnership, explored how the built environment shapes wellbeing, and focused on ways in which planning can help create environments that support positive mental wellbeing. It also considered the ways in which local communities can help inform and guide this process.
Delegates heard presentations from The Conservation Volunteers, Belfast Healthy Cities, Ligoniel Healthy Living Centre and Prosocial Place.
This seminar explored the role that green space has to play in improving wellbeing, including physical activity as well as mental and social wellbeing with a focus on the ways in which planning can help safeguard, develop and increase green space, and the ways in which local communities can get involved.
This second seminar in the Healthy Places, Healthy People series, gave an overview of how transport can contribute to healthy, vibrant and prosperous neighbourhoods, including examples of existing good practice. Planning can play an important role in improving connectivity and promoting more sustainable patterns of transport and travel as part of the transition to a low carbon economy. Active travel and more sustainable forms of travel can help tackle health issues such as obesity and support physical activity and mental health.
A liveable city contains complete communities with mixed‐use and affordable housing well connected to jobs, education, services and leisure venues. This first seminar in a series of five on Healthy Places, Healthy People, explored how planning can contribute to creating people oriented neighbourhoods, and how local communities can help inform this process.