A new approach to the way better health and improved lifestyles can be achieved in Croydon has been praised by the head of Public Health England.
The Live Well Croydon programme, among the first of its kind in the country, will integrate separate lifestyle services to improve the health and well-being of the borough’s residents.
Available to anybody over the age of 16, the programme is one of the first of its kind by a local authority in the UK and was praised by Duncan Selbie, the CEO of Public Health England, on a recent visit to Croydon.
One arm of the programme – to be known as ‘Just Be . . .’ – will promote behaviour change via an online platform providing information and practical advice on all lifestyle services.
‘Just Be . . .’ will be complemented by the service currently known as ‘MI Change’, a 12-week, face-to-face motivational interview plan that has already enjoyed success with past users.
Live Well Croydon will help anybody who lives or works in Croydon to achieve greater physical and mental health and resilience, leading to longer, healthier lives thanks to the adoption of positive lifestyle changes and behaviour.
The programme references the need, identified by Croydon’s Opportunity and Fairness Commission, to build on existing assets in communities, and to address inequalities, while ensuring all have equal opportunities.
It is recognised that adopting beneficial behaviour to become more active, opt for nutritious food, maintain a healthy weight, and give up smoking are important factors in creating good health and well-being. Live Well Croydon aims to show people how that behaviour can be achieved, and help them to continue to live and enjoy more positive, healthy and happy lives, and be part of their community.
‘Just Be . . .’ is an online interactive resource providing residents with a central hub for public health services and products. It will provide help and support on issues such as weight management, alcohol-harm reduction, physical activity, mental health, smoking and general well-being. Videos, apps and podcasts will be available for viewing and downloading. Many will feature local residents and their personal experiences around wanting to change parts of their lives for the better
‘MI Change’ offers a behaviour-change programme that uses the principles of motivational interviewing (MI) to help residents who need extra help and support to make a positive move to improve their weight, diet, mental health, confidence, to get fit and active, or quit or reduce other unhealthy behaviours such as smoking or alcohol consumption. The programme uses a number of motivational and positive supportive approaches to embed those changes over a longer period. Those people who use ‘MI Change’ will be offered the extra support once they have registered on the ‘Just Be . . .’ website.
Live Well Croydon shares its approach with the national Public Health England ‘One You’ campaign – which aims to improve the lifestyles of 40- to 50-year-olds – and be funded from the ring-fenced public health grant.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care
“We believe that this is the first programme in the country to use digital resources in this way to convince people of the advantages of making important changes to their lifestyle for the benefit of their health and long-term well-being.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This is a nationally leading piece of work to help improve the health and life expectancy of the people of Croydon.
“It offers support and assistance to those who experience poorer health and need additional help and motivation to make the necessary changes to bring about vital behaviour change.”