Promoting excellence in community nursing across Scotland
Creating healthy neighbourhoods
A huge proportion of deaths worldwide are caused by non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, many of which are preventable by eating well, not smoking, and regular physical activity.
The least affluent communities face significant disadvantages because often, healthy food options and opportunities for physical activity are inaccessible or non-existent.
The Community Health Survey SolutionsTM (CHESSTM) evidence-based mobile tool helps people explore how easy or difficult it is locally to buy fruit, vegetables and healthy grains, and what kinds of safe, accessible indoor and outdoor options there are for walking, running, cycling and other forms of physical activity. Communities are then armed with the information they need to persuade local decision-makers to make improvements. Recently we partnered with colleagues Christine Hancock and Denise Stevens at C3 and helped support three Queen’s Nurses to pilot the CHESSTM tool in and with their local communities.
The CHESSTM tool provoked lively discussions between nurses, community agencies and local residents as everyone cast a thoughtful eye over the health promoting and health limiting features of their streets and neighbourhoods.
This project, which was led by C3 and funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, also offered a modest amount of funding to help create a healthier neighbourhood. Each Queen’s Nurse worked closely with local residents and partners to decide how best to use the funds, ensuring communities were involved and able to choose and direct activities. It’s interesting that in Inverclyde and Aughmuty, Queen’s Nurses Alison Bunce and Jennifer Grant have worked with very different groups of people and yet both areas chose to prioritise refreshing and extending local community gardens to include growing and sharing fruit and vegetables. In Inverclyde, the project is also developing a wellbeing walking trail with information about local flora and about healthy eating. In Aughmuty, the young people involved hope to combine community gardening activity with the creation of more opportunities for social interaction across age groups, thereby improving community and individual wellbeing.