Actions agreed for better health and wellbeing in NK

Public footpath signpost in the woods

A detailed path has been agreed towards improved health and wellbeing in North Kesteven, building on an overarching plan for the county.

The Health and Wellbeing Delivery Plan by North Kesteven District Council identifies further ways to improve health and wellbeing across the District through possible interventions, opportunities and partnerships as well as utilising the authority’s existing work across its service areas and together with partners.

The delivery plan was approved unanimously by the Council’s Executive Board on Thursday 30 March.

Alongside it at the meeting were also two other items aimed at positive impacts on health in the District – the Council’s Inclusive Housing Strategy and a policy on damp and mould which strengthens existing procedures. Both were approved by the Council’s Executive Board unanimously.

The Health and Wellbeing Delivery Plan for North Kesteven maps out the actions to be taken specifically to help residents and communities in the District.

It comes after the Lincolnshire District Councils’ Health and Wellbeing Strategy which district councils have published together, intended as a blueprint with individual delivery plans to follow. It signalled the development of North Kesteven’s delivery plan which drives the Council’s contribution to that strategy.

The delivery plan for North Kesteven, much like the overall strategy, is split across five themes. It spells out specific actions under each theme while also being based on health needs in North Kesteven, alignments with existing Council partnerships and possible new actions.

North Kesteven District Council Chief Executive Ian Fytche said: “We’ve already a strong focus on enabling a healthy and flourishing District – making sure it’s a place where people enjoy good health, access to facilities, active wellbeing and more.

“There always remains more to be done, though, and the Health and Wellbeing Delivery Plan for North Kesteven steps up this work together with our partners. It identifies a number of new actions for the council and together with our work with partners we are confident of improving health outcomes across five priority lever areas.

“We are proud to support our communities in North Kesteven in their vital work on health and wellbeing, and of course will continue to do so through this plan while also recognising the vital part they already play.

“The delivery plan also helps ensure all our actions together in North Kesteven are well-synchronised with those across Lincolnshire as other councils shape their plans.”

The themes and some of the actions identified within the delivery plan for North Kesteven are:

Housing and homelessness

  • Addressing the underlying causes of homelessness so that it becomes rare, brief and non-recurring, including preventing 50% of cases per year.
  • Improving the supply of housing needs and demands, including reviewing the Lincs Homefinder Lettings Policy to ensure it is meeting the needs of North Kesteven and continuing to bring empty homes in the District back into use.

Activity, leisure and wellbeing

  • Creating environments for people of all ages to have equitable access to spaces for regular physical activity, including reviewing green open spaces and ways to use these better in partnership.
  • Opportunities for regular activity such as the NK Walking Festival.
  • Working together to tackle health inequalities, including support for proposals to become an Age Friendly County and continuing the Council’s Fit for Life courses and clinics in GP surgeries.

Environment and climate

  • Tackling climate change, including improving air quality and reducing carbon.
  • Maximising potential of Local Plan reviews to improve open/green space provision including work with landowners on access to woodland and enhancing the design of new open spaces for access.
  • Licensing and provision of healthy, sustainable food options.

Economic inclusion

  • Reducing economic inequality and alleviating poverty as a fundamental driver.
  • Increasing the number of residents who are economically active by helping those with health conditions/disabilities find flexible/remote employment.

Working with Communities

  • Enhancing and sustaining voluntary sector engagement, including opportunities for ‘green’ volunteering.
  • A strategic commissioning approach including work with Citizens Advice Mid Lincolnshire in North Kesteven.
  • Reviewing opportunities to further develop preventative approaches, including engaging support service Wellbeing Lincs for collaboration and innovation.

There are also several crosscutting themes which are life cycle stages, mental health, inequalities, vulnerabilities, and Covid-19 recovery.

Good housing can decrease the need for medical intervention and help people maintain their independence. The Council’s Inclusive Housing Strategy looks at the future for forthcoming generations and aims to make its homes more inclusive, so that whether someone’s physical or mental health changes temporarily or permanently the Council can provide better choices and options. It recommends review of existing policies and procedures to help achieve this.

Recognising the challenges and opportunities in creating more inclusive housing opportunities through the new strategy will help the Council continue to create a housing stock that meets the needs of customers now and in future.  

It also replaces the Council’s Housing Department Older Persons Housing Strategy 2016 – 2020, acknowledging the progress made against this original action plan and recognising changes in the housing sector. The term ‘inclusive homes’ means properties designed for use by all people as much as possible, without the need for further adaptation or specialised design.

The Damp and Mould Policy also approved unanimously by Executive Board sets out clear and consistent steps and brings together a range of existing procedures already utilised by the Council.

It covers the whole process, working together with tenants, from the first report of any damp and/or mould being present in a Council home through to organising repairs and monitoring of the works completed. This includes, for example, an officer visiting the property to carry out a full damp, mould and property defect assessment within 10 working days of an initial report of damp or mould.

Any North Kesteven District Council tenant concerned they have mould or damp in their home should report it by calling 01529 414155. Further information on damp and mould can also be requested over the phone and is available on the Council’s website.

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