9 year strategy aims to tackle health inequalities across Barnsley

Health bosses at Barnsley Council have approved a new health and wellbeing strategy today (October 7), in a bid to tackle health inequalities faced by residents.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 10:50 am

The strategy, titled: “Barnsley Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2021 – 2030: the place of possibilities”, lays out a number of priorities for the health and wellbeing board to focus on over the next nine years.

The strategy will also focus on health inequalities in the borough – life expectancy at birth for men range from 75 years in Kingstone ward to 82 years in Penistone East – a gap of almost eight years.

Other health inequalities in the borough are laid out in the stragey – Barnsley has the highest rate of adults classified as overweight or obese in South Yorkshire at 73 per cent.

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Town Hall.

Around 18 per cent of households in the borough are classed as “fuel-poor”, meaning the household is pushed below the poverty line due to the cost of energy.

And the number of youngsters under the age of 16 in “relitive low income families” is at 24 per cent.

The strategy includes a number of plans to improve the health of children, such as reducing smoking in pregnancy, developing a poverty index, providing healthy school meals, and improving mental health services for youngsters.

Phsyical activity is also a target of the strategy, and the board aims to improve the activity levels of Barnsley residents by promting active travel such as walking and cycling.

A report states that only 56.8 per cent of Barnsley adults are physically active, compared to a national average of 61.4 per cent.

Older people are also a cornerstone of the strategy, which states that around 19 per cent of Barnsley’s population is 65 years old or over and the number of residents aged over 65 is predicted to reach 60,800 by 2030.

“More opportunities for older adults to contribute to society”, will be created by supporting workplaces to “recruit, develop, promote and retain staff of every age”.

The report concludes: “Our strategy for a ‘Healthy Barnsley’ is both long-term and ambitious, taking action across the life course to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Barnsley.

“We will focus on reducing health and social inequalities to enable everyone in Barnsley to have the opportunity to live a healthy and satisfying life.

“Our immediate focus is on improving mental health in Barnsley and ensuring Barnsley is a great place for a child to be born.

“We know we can’t do this alone, and it will require support and commitment from our communities, and change at societal level.”

Diane Lee, head of public health at Barnsley Council, told the meeting that it is “more important than ever before” to have a health and wellbeing strategy in place.

Diane added that the plan “has a huge focus on tackling inequalities, and it sets out clearly what we need to do if we’re going to achive a healthier Barnsley.”