Standards Wise International - Blog

A Festival of Ideas - Day 5

Healthier homes and communities for healthier living


Judith Phillips chaired the final session of the HousingLIN  Summit, she is a lead of the Healthy Ageing Challenge at the UKRI. She began by highlighting the 5 key themes which would run through the session: Home and community are inextricably linked, people need to experience them all as an integrated system; the ecosystem requires an intergenerational and life path approach; we need to
co-design and coproduce our homes and communities; we have to talk about
eco-sustainability, we need to talk about it alongside the future of
communities; and finally the importance of innovation.
She shared three projects which embody this: DesCHA (Designing Homes for Healthy Cognitive Ageing); ENLIVEN (extending active life for older people with cognitive impairment) and SPACE (addressing cognitive health inequality).
Lord Nigel Crisp then spoke about the principles in his book 'Health is made at home: Hospitals are for repairs'. He introduced the idea of 'Health Creators' - new ideas about creating health and quality of life, it is not about 'social prescribing' it is about engaging the public and taking control.
Health is about physical, social and mental wellbeing. Creating health is about providing the conditions in which people can be healthy and helping them to be so.
Health and wellbeing can be thought of in 3 buckets: the health service, prevention and protection (Government), and health creation (civil society - schools, employers etc).
Ten behaviours, of which 4 are: mental health, they start with relationships, be entrepreneurial (learn by doing), take control.
The health creators have different languages and systems, how are they brought together?
Nicola Waterworth then spoke about creating age-friendly homes in Greater Manchester.
She said that Greater Manchester is quite unique in having an ‘ageing hub’, which coordinates a strategic response to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.
The Framework for creating age-friendly homes in Greater Manchester 2021-4 sets out shared ambitions for homes and communities and 5 strategic themes: embedding ageing in all housing strategy and delivery; resetting the conversation ‘valuable not vulnerable’; making an impact on the ground; promoting ‘improve or move’; celebrating homes and neighbourhoods that enable older people to live well.  
Collaborative, cross sector leadership and partnership: cross-sector representation, space to develop ideas and thinking, invested in research and evidence based.
Developing and using data and the evidence base - The Good Home inquiry, they have looked at regeneration. Create a compelling narrative and shared ambition.
Challenges and opportunities: net zero and retrofit, innovation and technology in homes, white paper, focus on inequalities, balance, having consumer facing 'big conversations'.
Michelle Humphreys, Director of Strategic Projects at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust then spoke. She said that North Manchester has challenges – it has amongst the highest level of social deprivation and poor health in the country.
There was concern that the hospital estate itself was in a poor state of repair (former Victorian workhouses), with 70% in need of repair. This impacts on delivering quality care, and on recruiting and retaining staff.
In 2019 the strategic partners created a plan to regenerate the area from the hospital outwards. They felt that the promise of investment was a catalyst for wider regeneration including transport, health outcomes, education, and the economy.
The ‘healthy neighbourhood’ was to be a place where community, health and wellbeing blend seamlessly. It aligns to the NHS long term plan to support out-of-hospital care; unsuitable housing costs the NHS £624m p.a. because of excess cold, risk of falls, etc.
Nigel Saunders, Director at Pozzoni Architecture was the final speaker of the session. He explained that a healthy neighbourhood is one which focuses on people's wellbeing, with well-designed and appropriate housing and suitable infrastructure (access to healthcare, employment, services).
It includes flexible and adaptable homes - different tenures, places where people can stay as they age, taking into account spatial and environmental considerations.
It is important to promote social connections and building a sense of community, so there are spaces on the ground floor which act as 'anchors' for the neighbourhood, open spaces and routes to other areas.
Sport England have created 10 design principles around active design and healthy neighbourhoods. They are: activity for all; walkable communities; connected walking and cycling routes; co-location of community facilities; network of multifunctional open space; high quality streets and spaces; appropriate infrastructure; active buildings, management, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation; and activity promotion and local champions.    
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