Finding out what matters to people, not what’s the matter with them, has been key to the success of the Well North programme, according to Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England (PHE).
He was speaking at a special celebration event for Well North Pathfinders and partners, held at Norton Priory near Runcorn, ahead of the four-year programme concluding at the end of March.
Mr Selbie recalled hearing the inspiring ideas of the late Professor Aidan Halligan for improving health and wellbeing across the North of England, which convinced PHE to invest £9 million in Well North in 2014.
“Everything comes down to relationships and people,” said Mr Selbie. “There are four things that matter to everyone: having a reason to get up in the morning, something meaningful to do, enough money to live on and sharing affection and friendship. Well North had the vision to realise this is what will help people to live longer in good health – and to put it into practice across ten communities.”
As part of the celebration event, Mr Selbie visited the Well Halton Pathfinder where he met members of Runcorn Veterans Association, two young women who are being help into employment by Power In Partnership and local charity Halton Community Partnership Trust. He was also inspired by a 93-year-old resident who is a keen supporter of Well Halton and very enthusiastic about managing his own health and wellbeing.
Mr Selbie spoke to other Well North Pathfinders and emphasised that PHE will remain alongside the programme’s legacy vehicle, Well North Enterprises, for many years to come.
Thanking Mr Selbie, Well North Executive Chairman Lord Andrew Mawson said: “Well North is about people and relationships, not systems, processes and strategy. I’m very proud of what all our Pathfinders have done in terms of sparking opportunities, making connections and sustaining change. We’re not afraid to be disruptive, persistent and entrepreneurial, connecting companies and individuals with communities.
“Our ten Pathfinders will continue to build on their achievements, and Well North Enterprises has the ambition to spread the programme’s learning and innovative mindset across the whole of the UK.”
Added Duncan Selbie: “Good health is part of our national economic strategy – health and wealth are two sides of the same coin. If people are in control of their lives, can access good jobs locally and feel connected to their community, this will deliver a better, healthier future for everyone. Well North Enterprises is able to play a pivotal role in achieving this.”