Council’s innovative public health work receives national recognition

20 Nov 2017

Northumberland County Council’s public health team  has  been  shortlisted  in two categories in the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Awards (LGC), 2018.

The national awards are the biggest in the sector and recognise the very best of local government innovation and service delivery.
The council’s public health team has been shortlisted in the Community Involvement and Public Health categories  for their new approaches to improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.

Working with the Glendale, Berwick and Seahouses Development Trusts the council has been empowering communities and groups to  identify and develop existing assets and resources to create health and wellbeing. It has also offered micro-grants to  groups wishing to develop  projects which have clear physical and mental wellbeing health benefits.

An example of this new approach is the Seahouses Seaside Amateur Dramatic Club that has been set up using  the micro-grant to hire rehearsal venues. The first play brought  around 100 people from the community together across a wide age range.  

The team has also been shortlisted in the Public Health category for their proactive work and diverse solutions to promote breastfeeding.

To counter the  marked decline in breastfeeding rates around four days after birth,  the local authority provided funding to employ a paid breastfeeding peer support worker to target women living in the most deprived wards in the county.  Results from the pilot study demonstrated an increase in breastfeeding prevalence from 14% to 30%,  6 weeks after the birth of the child.

Following on from the pilot a pathway was developed to provide breastfeeding support, which included visits to the maternity ward,  invitations to breastfeeding workshops in the antenatal period, one to one contact or home visits with women who were unable to attend and additional support for women with specialist needs.

Breastfeeding sustaining rates in the women who received this service was 20% above the rates for those women who did not, in the same geographical area.

Over seventy five women who have received targeted support  have come forward to train as Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteers and will now support other women in their own communities.

Northumberland County Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member with responsibility for adult well being and health said:
“  Two nominations in the LGC Awards  is a fantastic achievement and highlights our commitment to delivering excellent services for residents in ways that are inventive and cost effective. I am really pleased that the work of council staff and our  partners has been recognised and wish those  shortlisted all the best in the final next year.”

Winners of the LGC Awards will be announced on 21 March 2018.
The full list of finalists can be found at awards.lgcplus.com