Revisiting the Health & Wellbeing priorities for the borough, and a review of the Health and Wellbeing Action Plan.
Speaker: Rachel Kundasamy – Health & Wellbeing Officer, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council.
Revisiting the Health & Wellbeing priorities for the Borough, and a review of the Health and Wellbeing Action Plan.
Ms. Kundasamy provided an update to the Panel on the Health and Wellbeing Strategy from October 2019, and subsequent action plan in January 2020.
Ms. Kundasamy presented revised data on each of the 5 priorities:
· Eating well, getting active and reducing our alcohol
· Supporting our vulnerable residents to live well
· Supporting our residents to stay connected
· Supporting our residents to live life to the full whatever their age
· Supporting the mental and emotional wellbeing of our residents.
Ms. Kundasamy advised that the data indicates that the priorities are still relevant, with particular concern given to poverty, domestic abuse and the mental and emotional wellbeing of our residents, with suicide rates having increased.
Ms. Kundasamy advised the Panel on areas of work that had been progressed during the pandemic to include the promotion of cycling and walking to include Active April and Round the Borough Bike, the re-engagement with our housing associations, happy to chat benches, domestic abuse awareness raising via the ‘Ask Me’ initiative, the Skills Hub, and the Youth Hub; a new initiative that Mr. Rod Brown will provide an update on.
Ms. Kundasamy also presented on the changes at the Council and that the service areas of Health and Wellbeing, community engagement, sports and leisure will be brought together under the banner of Community Development.
Subsequent to this, there will be a Community Development Action Plan that will re-prioritise mental health, poverty and the needs of low-income families, domestic abuse and social isolation. The plan will seek to deliver projects that can address multiple priorities.
A Councillor asked about plans to address the increase in the use of the food bank.
Ms. Kundasamy advised that there has been a discussion held with the Epsom and Ewell Foodbank to open a Pantry in the Borough. This is a low-cost alternative to the food bank that will help address the need in the Borough. This initiative will be going to the Strategy & Resource Committee on 27th July 2021.
A Councillor asked how the Borough compares to other Boroughs in relation to the statistics presented and how much is a direct result of the pandemic that may return to normal levels.
Ms. Kundasamy advised that some of the data would indicate that the increases were in line with the pandemic, however some data (to include a reduction in residents eating 5-a-day), was released in 2019 and therefore we could not say that that was directly attributable to the pandemic, or an established cause and effect.
In relation to how we compare to other Boroughs, Ms. Kundasamy advised she would take that into account when reviewing the action plan.
A Councillor asked about Mental Health and whether child and adolescent referrals had increased and asked about Epsom and Ewell received the funds that were available to families in need.
Ms. Kundasamy confirmed that referrals had increased but that she does not have this data to hand. This will be provided to the Councillor.
Ms. Kundasamy confirmed that the money the Councillor refers to is the Surrey Crisis Fund and that this money is held by Surrey for families/individuals to apply directly to.
A Councillor asked about the absence of substance misuse in the review of the strategy and action plan.
Ms. Kundasamy advised that she works closely with the Council’s Community Safety Officer and that it is felt that the issue of substance misuse sits with the Community Safety Partnership. It is also intended that some of the projects the Council hopes to deliver, such as the Community Boxing Project will address such matters.
A Councillor asked about the alcohol admissions and whether this is attributable to acute use, or chronic use.
Ms. Kundasamy advised the figures relate to acute use, and associated incidents as opposed to health conditions attributable to long-term/chronic alcohol use.
Mr Rod Brown spoke about the Ms. Kundasamy’s contribution during the pandemic.
Mr Brown also updated the Panel on the Youth Hub. The Job Centre reports a 300% increase in 18-24-year-olds on Universal Credit. Mr. Brown advised the Panel that the Youth Hub will hopefully go some way to address the issue of poverty, the use of the food bank, and a generation of people out of work.
A Councillor asked about when the Youth Hub will be available and how Councillors can get the message out to residents.
Mr. Brown advised that the contribution from the Council is to offer space. At present, there is a plan to deliver from Bourne Hall. It will be delivered by Surrey Lifelong learning Partnership who delivered the Skills Hub during the Pandemic. The DWP are funding the initiative and have made available almost £100,000 for one year. Referrals will come via the DWP. The Hub will hopefully go live in August 2021.
A Councillor asked if the young people have been asked about what they want as to ensure the Hub’s success.
Mr. Brown advised that the Youth Hub model is not new, and that the DWP/Job Centre Plus (JCP) are the authors of the Youth Hub. They have opened up to Districts and Boroughs to host a Hub and as such the key performance indicators are drive by JCP.
A Councillor asked about whether there has been any engagement with the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Mr. Brown confirmed he would consult the CAB going forward.
A Councillor asked Ms. Kundasamy about suicide rates, what can be learnt and whether this is primarily still impacting on young men.
Ms. Kundasamy advised the data made available to the Boroughs and Districts does not provide this level of detail. Work will be undertaken with Public Health to look at this in more details and ascertain what is driving the increase.