Over 2,500 benefit in Derry & Fermanagh as key health project praised

An independent report has commended the work of community partners in the Western Trust area for their delivery of an EU funded project, Community Health Synchronisation (CoH-Sync).

Facilitated through CAWT (Co-operation and Working Together) – which this year marks 30 years of cross border health partnership – 2,500 people across the Trust area, have been directly supported to improve their health and well-being over the project’s four year duration.

As part of the project, two successful Health and Well-being Hubs operated within the Western Health and Social Care Trust area: Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum established a Hub in the Derry City / Strabane Council area and Arc Healthy Living Centre developed a Hub in the Fermanagh area. Both Hubs employed Community Health Facilitators.

Each participant in the programme was supported by a Hub Community Health Facilitator to develop and action their own Health and Well-being Plan. This enabled people to identify areas in their lifestyle, such as smoking cessation, alcohol consumption, improved nutrition or increased physical activity, which needed to be modified in order to improve their overall health. Participants benefitted from classes and activities including physical activity, online cookery, mindfulness, life coaching, online book clubs, creative writing classes and craft tutorials.

Some of the team from Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum at a Try-A-Tri event at Templemore Sports Complex back in June. (Jim McCafferty Photography)

Speaking on behalf of the CAWT Partnership, Bill Forbes, Director General, said: “The CoH-Sync project was embedded in cross-border communities, working with, and through, existing local organisations and initiatives. This person and community-centred approach to health and well-being, which was the basis for the CoH-Sync project, has significant potential to improve outcomes for individuals, support the development of resilient communities and, over time, help reduce demand on formal health and social care services.”

He added: “We are appreciative of the funding support received from the EU INTERREG VA programme to deliver this successful project.”

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The report highlights how well the CoH-Sync Hubs adjusted to the Covid-19 pandemic providing important and much needed support and assistance to many people, particularly when their mental health and well-being was more vulnerable.