By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Targeting drug use, supporting rough sleepers off the streets and encouraging people to live healthy lives are among priorities in Nottinghamshire County Council’s £4.92 million plan to improve public health.
The authority’s cabinet will review the goals when it meets for the first time on May 26, with six targeted areas outlined by the council.
They include creating ‘healthy and sustainable places’, which would see the council improving access to healthy food, supporting residents with home energy improvements, promoting financial resilience and improving capacity in the integrated care system.
This element of the plan will cost £2.172 million over four years, starting in 2022/23.
Children and families will also be targeted through £1.213 million in funding for knowledge and skills training, vitamin target packs for pregnant women, more dental checks among five-year-old children, the continuation of the Schools Health Hub and health advice websites.
The council has also allocated £719,000 over four years for mental health and wellbeing plans.
This will focus on training and development of communications plans to promote mental health wellbeing, with a public health support officer to be employed and existing posts in the Community Friendly Notts team to continue.
A further £417,000 over four years is allocated to ‘strengthen support for those who need it most’, including reducing alcohol consumption and the impact of tobacco.
This investment will also include investing in the county-wide Rough Sleeper Initiative, which will be strengthened in its work providing outreach and in-reach support services to the homeless community.
The council has also allocated £80,000 over two years, starting from 2024, to promote further staff flu immunisation and ‘protect people from existing and emerging threats to health’.
And a four-year, £265,000 investment will be spent helping residents to life ‘healthier and more independent lives’.
This investment will see the continuation of funding for oral health promotion and targeted work to reduce dental decay, as well as a service to deliver support for healthy weight, physical activity, smoking cessation, and low-level alcohol interventions.
Councillor Matt Barney (Con), portfolio holder for adult social care and public health, will bring a report before the cabinet next week.
He says many of the initiatives come following responses to the council’s Big Notts Survey last year, which found more than half of people want to prioritise being healthy over the coming decade.
In a statement, he said: “Good health and wellbeing for people, no matter where they live and what their background, is central to the Nottinghamshire Plan.
“It enables more people to fulfil goals such as living independently for longer, securing employment, having relationships and being part of their community. We believe that our proposals will give people in all areas of Nottinghamshire the best opportunities to live happy, healthy lives.
“The priorities we have identified have been informed by the feedback we had from residents and partners as part of our recent Health and Wellbeing Strategy engagement.
“More than half of the respondents in our Big Notts Survey also identified being healthy as a personal ambition for the next 10 years.”
Cabinet members will be recommended to approve the £4.92 million investments during the meeting.