Neighbourhood Health Watch: connecting trusted community support for health
Would you like to do more to help support the most vulnerable members of your community but you're not sure how to get started or know what support is available to you? Neighbourhood Health Watch can help
Neighbourhood Health Watch (NHHW) is all about helping communities support one another, with the aim of improving their overall health and wellbeing
The aim of Neighbourhood Health Watch is to increase community resilience and reduce isolation and loneliness. The idea came from a Devon based GP who could see that communities already do a lot to help one another, but that it would be good to support communities to enable them to do more.
Watches are not a new idea. Neighbourhood Watch© is an extremely successful crime prevention initiative supported by the police. Communities working together with the aim of making their neighbourhoods safer places to live. But what about our health and wellbeing needs? Can we work together as a community to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve our overall health and wellbeing?
Existing Neighbourhood Watches are able to exand their activity to not only help reduce crime in their area but help ensure all members of the community are supported in times of need.
Neighbourhood Health Watch brings together the NHS, Police, Fire & Rescue and the Voluntary Sector to enable communities to work together to support one another’s health and wellbeing needs.
Neighbourhood Health Watch aims to:
- Connect trusted community support for health
- Reduce social isolation and loneliness and improve health and wellbeing
- Enable good neighbours to support one another
- Increase resilience at community level
- Improve community links to NHS, police, fire and voluntary sector
- Promote volunteering
Neighbourhood Health Watch is not about replacing paid professionals or existing voluntary organisations. All it takes are a few good neighbours who are willing to work together to support the most vulnerable members of their community. Communities will, in turn, receive the support of their local GP Practice, Police Community Support Officer and Community Fire & Safety Representative.
SO HOW DOES A COMMUNITY BENEFIT FROM NEIGHBOURHOOD HEALTH WATCH?
Here are just a few examples of how Neighbourhood Health Watch Good Neighbours have helped in their community:
- Collecting prescriptions/medications or picking up groceries during bad weather or bouts of ill health
- Looking after/feeding a family pet while the owner attends a medical appointment
- Clearing snow, gritting a path or clearing drains during bad weather
- Putting out bins for those less mobile neighbours
- Offering a lift to the supermarket or to and from medical/dental appointments
- Checking a neighbours smoke detector is working, checking plug sockets are not overloaded
- Collecting and returning library books for a neighbour
- Sharing home grown fruit and vegetables
- Reading a meter for those neighbours unable to access their meters due to location
- Or simply acting as a community befriender and checking everything is ok with a neighbour who may live alone
How Neighbourhood Health Watch works
- Watches are run by the community and are led by a resident volunteer coordinator, whose job it is to get residents working together and make sure the community is supported
- The resident volunteer coordinator liases with the NHS, Police, Fire Service and local Voluntary organisation and acts as a voice for the community. Many Watches meet regularly to discuss any issues or problems and decide what actions to take
- Watches are supported by the NHS, Police and Fire Service as well as the local authority
- Watches vary in size – they can be large, covering most of the houses in an area, or they may involve just a few houses in a residential street
To start your own Watch follow our 7 steps guide
For queries regarding the project please contact Lucy de Garis
Tel: 01392 824752 (opt 2, opt 2)
"Truly innovative and fast becoming a social movement" Health Service Journal, November 2014
"Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe