Progress on 2020 recommendations

This chapter outlines progress made on last year’s report’s recommendations. Preparing for, and responding to, COVID-19 has created a shift in priorities across the resources and capacity of the Council and our partners.

Recommendation 1

Wider determinants of health COVID-19 has shone a light on inequalities within our communities. Coventry City Council and partners should continue to build on this increased awareness, and consider the findings from COVID-19-related research and surveys, to mitigate the health and wellbeing impact of inequalities in Coventry.

Action to date

Over the last 12 months the research and needs analyses that have been carried out have developed our knowledge around the key health challenges for the population of Coventry during the pandemic. The Household Survey results show that residents who rated their health as good has decreased from 78% in 2018 to 73% this year. Smoking prevalence and mental wellbeing also decreased whilst alcohol use increased. This was a similar picture nationally. The Coventry and Warwickshire Covid impact assessment identified a national exacerbation of health inequalities, with people in more deprived communities, in lower-paid employment, or with pre-existing health conditions, more likely to experience further deprivation as a result of lockdown.  Investment this year in lifestyles support through the NHS Long Term Plan and Health Equality Partnership programmes is seeking to develop models to address these inequalities.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Mental Health Joint Strategic Needs Assessment also showed evidence of increased need and demand because of the pandemic, with residents and stakeholders reporting challenges in accessing the right support. The mental health transformation programme over the next three years will develop the core offer and a model of delivery that better responds to where people live and the services around them.

Recommendation 2

Our health, behaviours, and lifestyles. Coventry City Council’s approach to public health communications and engagement should be guided by lessons learnt and new relationships formed, especially as we continue to live with, and through, COVID-19.  

Action to date

The Coventry Health Challenge, September 2020 - March 2021 was designed and delivered to respond to the pandemic and the Government’s ‘Better Health’ campaign. Focused on Coventry residents who were most at risk of serious illness if they caught Covid-19, the goal was to support them in improving their health to maximise their resilience. The campaign disseminated simple, clear, achievable health messages to key target groups. New toolkits were created each month with a different area of focus within these key themes.

The key themes were:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking cessation
  • Immunisations (influenza and Covid-19)

The key target groups for the campaign were:

  • Over 55s
  • People with pre-existing health conditions
  • Smokers
  • People who are overweight
  • BAME groups

 The campaign used various approaches to reach the target audience, including press, a webpage, Coventry City Council social media, and health champions. The evidenced wide reach of the campaign, and the positive feedback received from the key stakeholder groups, indicates that the campaign made a difference in supporting the population of Coventry to protect their health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. All the community groups involved were keen to continue receiving health promotion materials to share with their members. Additionally, the campaign strengthened links between the Council and community groups involved across the city.  The strengthened networks are likely to be mutually beneficial beyond the scope of the campaign.  
Wellbeing for Life, the legacy programme from the Year of Wellbeing 2019, was relaunched to follow the Coventry Health Challenge this year. Using lessons learnt from the campaign's evaluation with local people and stakeholders, it seeks to engage individuals, communities and stakeholders in building resilience using the 5 ways to wellbeing framework.

Recommendation 3

Our health, behaviours, and lifestyles. Coventry City Council and partners should continue to encourage local employers, and lifestyle and wellbeing services, to commit to improving workplace wellbeing.

Action to date

Employment is one of the most strongly evidenced determinants of health. Improving health and well-being at work not only benefits the individual and their immediate community, but also the employer and wider society. The West Midlands THRIVE at work award framework seeks to improve wellbeing awareness, access to relevant health services, and to improve the support provided to employees by each participating company. In addition to improving health, the impact is likely to include reduced sickness absence, reduced presenteeism, reduced staff turnover and improved productivity.  Of the 21 companies receiving the Thrive award in 2020, 10 were from Coventry and Warwickshire.
The Call to Action builds on THRIVE at work and is a specific Coventry, system-wide challenge to all businesses and organisations to take one or two actions which will help to tackle health inequalities. The initial focus has been on the private sector to raise awareness with employers about the implications of health inequalities and suggest actions that they can take which will benefit the business as well as the wider community. Actions include - paying the real living wage, taking a social value approach in their business, ensuring they have fair working practices which don’t present barriers to certain groups, upskilling staff, and undertaking community initiatives.
A Call-to-Action website is in place to provide background to the initiative and give more information about health inequalities, a range of resources and support for the various actions.  Businesses are asked to sign up to a commitment and make a public declaration of the actions that they will take.

Recommendation 4

Integration of actions from the community, public sector, and voluntary sector. Building on existing health and wellbeing infrastructure, a collaborative partnership approach, which brings together residents’ experience and partners’ skills and assets, should be taken to strengthen health and wellbeing in communities. 

Action to date

An example of the way in which citizens and local services were bought together during the summer of 2021 was the ‘On your doorstep’ event in Foleshill. Coventry City Council Children’s Services received funding to support new and innovative ways of
working with children and families, “family valued” from Leeds Partners. Families for All hub invited Public Health, Police, Fire Service and Sky Blues in the Community to meet and discuss ideas for a community event. The event took place as a Street
Closure in a target area with high levels of deprivation, lack of 2-year-old funding take up, and a high claimant count. Fire engines and police cars parked on the road for families to explore, freebies and information on available services were provided including on physical activity, health and wellbeing, local programmes and opportunities. Children’s and family activities were also put on.
The evaluation and outcome of this event has been to seek to replicate street and place-based contact with local residents to reduce loneliness and social isolation and increase access to family hubs and other support services. The model underpins the Coventry City Council bid to the Active Communities fund as part of the Commonwealth Games legacy funding. 

Recommendation 5

The places and communities we live in and with Coventry City Council and partners should set up spaces and channels to meet with residents, with the aim of inspiring them to imagine the change they wish to see in their communities, and enabling residents to lead the change.

Action to date

The Integrated Services project in Bell Green and Wood End was set up in December 2020 to respond to the social needs, challenges, and opportunity potential of the area, as well as existing community assets and the value placed on these by residents. The overarching objectives are:

  • To identify and deliver better outcomes for residents and the community through more effective and integrated use of our collective resources including skills, physical assets, and buildings, including touch down spaces
  • To focus on a single locality, engaging with residents and the local community to understand and prioritise need and desired outcomes
  • To work with partners across public, voluntary, and community sectors to identify, co-create, and deliver solutions and improved outcomes, harnessing and building upon the partnership working that has especially developed throughout the pandemic response
  • To develop learning to inform a wider roll-out with more support and within other localities

The single locality prototype project is a key initiative within the Partnerships and Community programme. It represents an opportunity for the Council and its partners to work together with residents to prioritise, develop, and deliver ideas that will improve the quality of services and support for residents and communities in a locally relevant and impactful way. The project’s success will depend on the Council, its partners, the community, and residents working together to fully understand and deliver on priority needs. Project prototype testing commenced in May 2021.