Health Watch scheme gathers pace
17:00 06 May 2014
A pioneering scheme aimed at improving health and wellbeing in Sidmouth is gathering steam as organisers prepare to pitch the idea to residents.
The group behind the Neighbourhood Health Watch (NHHW) hope that the project will help to foster relationships between residents and promote community activism.
And to achieve it, they plan to enlist the help of existing Neighbourhood Watches in the town, to grow the service beyond its crime prevention roots to offer help to vulnerable and isolated members of the community.
Last month, the Herald reported how the scheme was well received after the idea was pitched to members of Sid Valley charities and voluntary groups. And at a meeting last week, organiser Jayne Clarke outlined the next steps towards launching the scheme in Sidmouth.
“A lot of Neighbourhood Watch groups have done all they can do, and a lot are now looking for more ‘work’,” she said. “They have the infrastructure, so we can look at how to expand what is already in place in areas where there are active Watches.
The fully-functioning NHHW would serve as a link between statutory services like the NHS, police and fire service, and Sid Valley voluntary organisations. The scheme would centre around a ‘hub’ where information on residents’ needs could be shared and cross referenced by community groups.
Firefighter Gareth Sydenham gave an example of how a more joined-up approach by support groups could benefit residents.
He told the meeting about an elderly lady in Manchester who died after a fire at her home.
“She had a smoke alarm in her house but it wasn’t working,” he said. “And she was being visited by various agencies and voluntary groups, but none of them checked the alarm.
“If just one of those agencies had that in their visit routine then it could have saved her life.”
Similar schemes launched by the same organisers have already been successful in Budleigh Salterton and Lympstone, although Sidmouth would be the largest area it has been attempted in.
More information on the project will be available at a coffee morning scheduled for Saturday, June 7, at the Stowford Rise Community Centre.
Anyone interested in attending can contact Jayne on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01392 824752 (option 2 option 2).