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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

Community prosperity

Community prosperity

A shared prosperity approach supports good health and well-being through the determinants of health throughout the course of people’s lives.  Shared prosperity increases healthy-life expectancy, increases resilience, enhances well-being and generates community prosperity within ‘left behind’ /excluded communities.

Communities that have been ‘left behind’ have experienced the disappearance of a wide range of social facilitates, social infrastructure including shops, pubs and cafes, community centres and in some communities, community organisations, as well as economic decline.  This has been exaggerated in Belfast’s disadvantaged communities by the migration of people as a result of the conflict within and between communities and deaths during ‘the troubles’.  Investing in these communities that have missed out on the wider benefits of social, environmental, technological and economic growth is critical to increasing shared and community prosperity, and reducing inequalities.

Engaging people who live in ‘left behind’ communities supports the identification of existing assets - knowledge, skills, resources, land and buildings - which can be harnessed to enhance community prosperity and growth.

Covid-19 has brought changed circumstances for people’s lives – essential services have been interrupted, especially to people who really need the services.  Death rates are highest amongst vulnerable population groups and Covid-19 has disproportionately affected those who are disadvantaged.  Education has been affected particularly for families who do not have access to Wi-Fi.

Covid-19 shows how regional and local government can react quickly and radically and bring about instant change in peoples’ behaviour in their daily living and working activities. Collaboration has increased across administrative and political infrastructure in Northern Ireland with many initiatives across the Northern Ireland Executive supporting local communities, businesses and infrastructure.

There is a need for systemic change and to consider how as a city, health is monitored and how ‘health in all policies’ become more than rhetoric, making it a permanent feature in all policy making and a primary objective in rejuvenating the city.

Covid-19 experience, highlights how communities play a vital role in promoting health, health protection and disease prevention as well as the inclusion of older people, children and other vulnerable groups.  With the pandemic, communities are experiencing, resourcefulness and new-found unity and an expression of hope.  Companies have come together to manufacture ventilators; self-isolating households gathered on doorsteps across the city to pay tribute to the efforts of frontline health and other workers.  Communities have learned how much they depend on each other for health systems as well as for food systems and that society itself, is only as safe as its most vulnerable members.

 

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