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NHS Population Health Investment Funding helps over 200 Barrow residents stay well last winter

17 May 2024

  • Working in partnership

Groundwork, a charity that takes practical action to create a fair and green future in which people, places, and nature thrive, utilised the NHS Population Health Investment Funding to help over 200 Barrow residents stay well last winter.

In 2022, Groundwork used the funding to set up a community ‘Warm Hub’ to deliver tailored support to Barrow residents, specifically those in the Hindpool area. In addition to converting the warm hub the funding was used to deliver a wide range of activities including informal drop in sessions where attendees could have a cup of tea and socialise and also weekly interactive sessions which were delivered with partner organisations and covered a wide range of subjects including arts and crafts, money management, fuel poverty, healthy eating and physical activity. Running alongside the in person sessions, staff also ran a weekly outreach service providing phone support for individuals who couldn’t attend the centre themselves.

Sam joined the Warm Hub in February 2023 and said: “I did not come out of my house for 10 years due to social anxiety and mental health issues, but the hub provided me with a safe relaxed environment, providing help and support, when I needed it, and has given me the confidence to meet new people, I have learned how to socialise, learned new skills, and interact with activities, I now have met lots of lovely people I consider as friends”.

In addition to regular activities, the Warm Hub has been used support residents to stay warm whilst saving energy throughout the colder months. Those running the centre gave out over 500 winter warm packs to residents and also worked with energy saving experts to host clinics offering cost saving information and support. The warm hub also provides onsite access to washing, drying and ironing facilities free of charge.

Victoria Myers, runs the Warm Hub project and said: “My journey with the Warm Hub project has been truly transformative and has broadened my horizons. Collaborating closely with local councils, and specialist partners, and creating stronger links with organisations, and local NHS providers has amplified my sense of value and belonging. In essence, the Warm Hub project has empowered me to make a tangible difference in people's lives, transcending mere poverty alleviation to foster a vibrant and supportive community.”

To support the project, a full-time dedicated Lifestyle Coach was employed to work within the Warm hub and engage external teams such as GPs, Care Co-ordinators, Social Prescribers, Adult Social Care, Housing Associations, CAB, Job Centre Plus and other community groups to identify individuals who would benefit from the Warm Hub.

Following the launch of the Community Warm hub, the project received further ‘Know Your Neighbourhood Funding’ from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and Cumbria community foundation which enabled the project to be extended and the hub to remain open.

The Population Health Investment Fund was established to encourage community-led responses in helping to address the inequalities in health across Morecambe Bay. In response to the escalating prices of food, fuel and the cost-of-living risks, along with

concerns over respiratory health, it was decided that 2022/23 fund would focus on schemes that could support our population to improve or maintain their health during winter.