Local councils have a big part to play in the way they allocate resources and organise services to support the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.
Towards the bottom of this page, you can find a list of resources and training for councils that will help you access a range of health and wellbeing topics.
Here are some definitions of these widely used terms:
Health: The WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Wellbeing: Wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well and comprises an individual’s experience of their life and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values. It can be measured in different ways:
Wider (social) determinants of health are a diverse range of factors which impact our health.
Creating a healthy population requires action on the political, social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors which shape the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age.
Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programmes that promote the representation and participation of diverse groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations. It is explained in more detail on YouTube, here.
Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) is dedicated to increasing the health and happiness of residents in Somerset through physical activity and sport. It does this by
SASP has launched its Somerset Moves Physical Activity strategy. For more details including the event booking portal and health and wellbeing support resources see SASP’s website here
There are lots of opportunities for local councils and local community networks to improve health & wellbeing by helping to set up and promote physical activities. The following examples have proved tremendously popular in helping to create healthier and happier communities, and all can attract grant aid to cover costs:
Park Yoga operates free of charge on Sunday mornings in parks across the UK during the summer months. Currently, Vivary Park in Taunton and Collet Park in Shepton Mallet operate very successfully with between 70 and more than 200 people attending. Park Yoga costs around £70 per week to hire a yoga instructor for the summer months (May to the end of Sept).
Park Run operates every Saturday morning free of charge. A start-up fee is payable up front at around £3,000 per park run. A good number have been established in Somerset but there are always room for more. SASP is willing to liaise with running clubs where an LCN area may feel this is something they would wish to explore.
Health Walks are volunteer led by LCN identified walk leaders. SASP provides free training and advertising. All walks are free of charge to participants and can operate weekly, fortnightly, or monthly throughout the year.
Helping our communities to have access to enough nutritious food is important to support their health. Here are some organisations that are active in Somerset.
Here you will find links to organisations that local councils can contact to support Somerset residents to reduce loneliness and to support families, carers and young people.
As we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and with current cost-of-living pressures, it’s more important than ever that we get support for money worries. Here, you will find links to organisations that local councils can contact to support Somerset residents with money matters.
Somerset focused funding and advice programmes:
National Advice services:
Somerset has a new Integrated Care Board overseeing health and care services in the county. It works in partnership with Somerset Council to manage adult social care, children’s social care, and public health services. The ICB and partnership group have joined together with the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board to combine meetings with a common agenda. Details on the Somerset Council website, here
Transport and travel in Somerset’s communities is key to keeping us connected to work, education, and community services, as well as supporting businesses and leisure activities.
Here are some organisations and sites that can help local councils deal with supporting their communities with travel issues:
Research has shown that young people who have contact with employers whilst at school are significantly less likely to become NEET – not in education, employment or training – and can expect to earn more money once they are in full-time employment.
Here are some organisations that councils can use to support Somerset residents with information and advice on accessing education at all ages, as well as training and employment opportunities.
Somerset councils have declared a climate emergency, and here are some links for local councils to work with their communities to support this.
Global climate change facts and evidence from NASA
Climate Resilient Somerset is a site from Somerset Council listing resources and guidance available to reduce environmental impact for Somerset residents and businesses.
Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) Protecting Nature and connecting communities to wildlife and offers lots of opportunities and support to get involved with green spaces in your community.
Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust- WWT ‘Blue recovery’ on how to use wetlands as a wellbeing support tool.
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) gives advice on a range of energy saving topics and has a team of advisors working with councils and residents across the county to provide energy saving equipment and funding support.
Friends of the Earth has set out a helpful list of 20 actions parish and town councils can take on the climate and nature emergency and NALC in 2020 produced a list of statutory powers that apply to issues of climate and nature.
South Somerset District Council developed a Community Biodiversity Toolkit to help communities to take the lead in defining and restoring biodiversity in their area. The toolkit is accompanied by 3 appendices:
Cornwall Council has developed a generic environmental policy template tool for town & parish Councils to develop environmental policy(ies).
The Environment Act 2021 requires parish and town councils to consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity. The government has issued guidance on complying with the duty and asks councils to agree policies and objectives as soon as possible, with completion of their first consideration of what action to take for biodiversity by 1 January 2024.
Andrew Maliphant of The Community Works has written guidance and a template biodiversity policy for use by local councils.
A guidance paper on land (green) and water-based (blue) natural landscapes, why they are good for us and what local councils can do to increase access to them.
Somerset County Council Housing website hosts a range of information, guidance and additional links to organisations supporting access to safe and secure housing in the county, including the Homefinder Somerset partnership of council and housing associations working together to make the process of finding a home easier.