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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Care Zone

Care Zone

The Care Zone was established as a community development pilot resulting from a Future Search workshop titled ‘Building Hope: Working Together to Prevent Suicide’. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together representatives from various statutory and third sector organisations to bolster suicide prevention strategies within Belfast. The CareZone project is based upon a community development model that seeks to support local residents to overcome health inequalities, with the longer term aim of reducing suicide. This approach favours cohesive ways of working between partners including the active involvement of local residents and local community groups in order to empower them and to build capacity to support them to take action to increase ‘hope’ and care in the area. Community input was sought in order to help CareZone partners identify the needs of local communities and to begin to develop and negotiate partnerships and resources to meet these needs. The lessons learned from the application of the CareZone model are intended to be carried forward to other areas in Belfast.

Belfast Healthy Cities supported the CareZone pilot by producing a compressive health profile of the area that highlights the key health inequalities between local residents and the wider Belfast and Northern Ireland populations. We also assisted in the drawing up of the final report that sets out the key findings and action plan.


Lord Mayor, Cllr Kate Nicholl visiting the Care Zone fund day

Care Zone Report 

The ‘Care Zone’ Report was officially launched in Belfast City Hall this week, setting out the priorities for addressing poor health indicators in north Belfast, including high levels of suicide. The report was launched by Lord Mayor Cllr John Finucane and among the speakers at the event was Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride.

The Care Zone project leader Jo Murphy heralded the publication of the report and highlighted the key priorities.

“Health overall and mental wellbeing in particular in north Belfast was not improving over time, and the workshop event 3 years ago marked a change in the way health and wellbeing services are delivered in this area. Led by the Lighthouse charity the project brings together a number of key stakeholders that operate locally, including statutory, voluntary and community organisations and local residents through a ‘whole area approach’ which promotes cohesive ways of working between all partners.  The Care Zone project has a community development approach at the heart of its operational and strategic actions.”

The report launched today sets out 48 recommended actions including better access to mental health services, a mobile health information facility and an emphasis on transparent decision making.

Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said, “I applaud the progress made by the North Belfast Care Zone to have a Community Development Approach to suicide prevention. The community led methodology is very much in keeping with the Making Life Better Framework, which seeks to create the conditions for individuals and communities to take control of their own lives.  We want to move towards a vision where all people are enabled and supported in achieving their full health and wellbeing potential and to reduce inequalities in health. Working closely with communities in a co-production approach is essential and something we wish to focus more on during the implementation of the recently published Protect Life 2 strategy for preventing suicide and self-harm.  This is strongly reflected in the Care Zone report and I hope this report will inspire others to create their own “Care Zone.”

Belfast Healthy Cities is a partner in the Care Zone and produced the Care Zone Health Profile and facilitated the production of the Care Zone Report. The profile statistics were presented at the launch by Chris Karelse.

The Care Zone project has been financially supported by the Public Health Agency, the Urban Villages Initiative and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.