The region’s Police and Crime Commissioner is backing a new community health initiative in Wigan, building on the borough’s successful Home Watch network.
Neighbourhood Healthwatch brings together local people to offer each other support for everyday health problems and look out for vulnerable residents. The scheme builds on the idea behind Home Watch, which has developed effective links with communities and local police to help prevent crime.
Tony Lloyd recently met with representatives from Healthwatch Wigan, a new independent, not-for-profit organisation set up to represent local people on health and social care issues in the town, along with other partner agencies including Wigan Council and local GPs, to look at how to transform the idea into reality.
Tony and Sir Ian McCartney, Chairman of Healthwatch Wigan, hope the town’s army of Home Watch volunteers can help Healthwatch really take off.
Tony said: “Home Watch members already play a central role in the community and are passionate about their local area. They are the eyes and ears, looking out for neighbours, working with the police – proving how valuable it is in tackling crime and making our neighbourhoods safer places to live. So it makes sense to harness this partnership working to address other local issues, such as day to day health problems.
“That’s what Neighbourhood Healthwatch is about, helping communities to support each other’s health needs, building a network of residents who can call on each other in their time of need. It’s about community spirit, everyone looking out for each other. This approach has worked for crime prevention so why can’t it do the same for the health and well-being of our residents?
“Home Watch already has effective networks in place and is why I want to bring the town’s existing schemes together to champion this new initiative and build safer, healthier communities across Wigan.”
Checking in on a vulnerable, elderly neighbour during the winter weather, listening to and supporting a recently bereaved neighbour, or giving a full-time career a break by sitting with their loved one for a couple of hours are examples of how Neighbourhood Healthwatch volunteers can help in the community.
Sir Ian McCartney said: “This is a first for the North West of England and I am delighted that Tony, local police and colleagues from health and social care are fully behind my proposal. Wigan senior police officers have moved immediately and our first meeting is later this month. I am grateful for the support from Tony and Superintendent Andrea Jones from the Wigan division.”
Photo shows :
Front row L-R – Doris McCartney, BSL Interpreter, Tony Lloyd, Annmarie Stone, Healthwatch Trustee, Sir Ian McCartney, Chair Healthwatch Wigan, Superintendent Andrea Jones, GMP Wigan Division.
Back row L-R – Dr. Tim Dalton, Chair, Wigan Borough CCG, Stuart Cowley, Director Adults Social Care & Health, Wigan Council, Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Chair Wigan Health & Wellbeing Board, Frank Costello, Patient Representative and Vice Chair Wigan Borough CCG, Julie David, Director, Wigan & Leigh People First, Phil Woods, Healthwatch Trustee, Cllr Kevin Anderson, Wigan Borough Council, Martin Broom, Healthwatch Trustee, Jenny Maguire, Company Secretary & Healthwatch Trustee.