In the fight to encourage people to take steps to improve their own physical and mental health and general well-being, it’s clear that we cannot solely rely on the NHS. Private and charitable schemes focus on other areas of health to enable people to make the right decisions about their own bodies, lives and livelihoods. Now, a flagship programme in the north has been granted lottery funding to help local people. Last week, the St Helens Wellbeing Scheme accepted £400,000 of money from the Big Lottery Fund to help people in St. Helens and Knowsley with general health, wellness and life skills.
The money granted to the St Helens Wellbeing Scheme is expected to provide a system of programmes over the next three years. Amongst the courses on offer, people will learn skills training, confidence building as well as more traditional community activities to build people’s life and social skills and talents such as arts and crafts. It is expected that the organisers will provide over 400 courses to over 5,000 people who live in the area. Schemes like this are vital to community cohesion and providing places to go for people of all ages.
Whether the St Helens Wellbeing Scheme will open the door to other such programmes around the country remains to be seen. it is not the first of its kind but it does appear to be one to provide with an umbrella organisation that to provide a broad scope of programmes and courses for people. This style of “third sector” community participation is the sort of programme that the government has tried to encourage since 2010, first under the coalition and now under the Tory government. Courses are already available to local residents.