If you have found a fun way to health please let us know, so we can share it with others. Click on 'Get Involved'.
How it came about!
Cannock Chase Council and South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust have worked in partnership for many years to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents. They value the role arts and creativity play in encouraging its local community to make positive steps to a healthier lifestyle. This is achieved by making health fun, friendly and accessible. Particpation from the local community in developing their creative health promotion is fundamental to their practice.
The Good Life was the next stage in a series of successful projects that engaged children, young people, adults and families that had barriers to living a healthy lifestyle, such as: low income, poor education, unemployment, no transport or low self esteem or even poor social opportunities etc. Any of these, can place an individual or family at a great disadvantage, so therefore in an attempt to close this gap, we needed to understand more.
Cannock Chase Children's Centre (local family support - Sure Start centre) were approached by the partnership to see if families wanted to record a journey of experiences of making the most of what was on their doorstep, and by doing so we would gain a true insight into local barriers. This included buying food from local shops to create cheap and easy healthy meals, visiting Cannock Chase to enjoy free play and doing fun and found activites at home. Guided by partners and working alongside artists Richard Franks and Kathryn from Multistory, 18 families over a year, experienced and came up with a wealth of ways to improve their family life.
Many found the project life changing and it was strongly felt that their journey and ideas should be shared with others and 'The Good Life' book was published as a result of a Practice Based Commission by the Cannock Chase Commissioning Consortium. This wonderful record was only a snapshot of the ideas, helpful hints and advice which could reach and inspire others, hence this website!
The website created by Born Communication in partnership with Arts Development, has taken forward the original design brief, created by artists from Multistory. It was important that the site was bright and colourful and appealed to families, and was easy to use. We hope the site to grows and grows, as more people or organisations wish to be a part of it, telling and sharing healthy ideas.
The Good Life aims to address health inequalities by making good health - accessible, whatever your circumstances. It has been marketed when and where opportunities arise in the heart of the community within deprived wards, at events and has involved appropriate families and children that would most benefit. This approach will continue. For those who have not got internet access at home, particpating schools have agreed to use the site within lesson time, many local services, such as the our Libraries, Youth Service and childrens services are more than happy to support, to ensure access.
Eventually we would like the site to contain audio versions of the main content and book,to make it even more user friendly.
The site will soon have a wider representation when projects with local special needs school come to fruition.
Cannock Chase Council commits itself to the practice of arts, health and wellbeing which is embedded as a core theme in its Arts Development Service 'Strategy for Arts - 2008-2011'. This website contributes to all of its key objectives, but principally meets:
- Raise the profile and value of arts and health practice within the district in meeting health objectives
- Develop capacity to deliver arts and health work
- Increase opportunities to particpate in art forms that meet physical activity objectives
Both the book and website:
- Embeds the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters and communicates this informally, directly to the particpating children, families or supporting professionals.
- Works on the key principals of Choosing Health, by informing, educating and making choosing a healthier lifestyle seem easier, through fun.
- Addresses health inequalities by empowering those who at risk to be a part of the initiative, and by providing an additional tool for supporting professionals to use within education, clubs or health related services.
- Supports local childhood obesity agendas and delivery plans.
As a partnership between health, arts and the community, The Good Life feeds into local 'priority delivery plans' meeting actions within both
- Healthier Communities, Housing and Older People
- Children, Young People and Families.
It has been a part of local organisations OFSTED inspections and is already proving a useful for those delivering against 'healthy schools' status requirements.
" The Good Life has changed my life. Before, when it rained, I'd probably put the tele on. Being a part of The Good Life made me buy some wellies for me and my daugther, and now we'll just shove on our wellies, grab the coats and not think twice about going for a walk across the Chase, whatever the weather!" Participating Parent - Susan
The Good Life concept and initiative was instigated and led by Cannock Chase Council Arts Development - Lisa Shephard and South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust public health and partnership staff - The Good Life Partnership.
Partners would like to give a huge thank you to all who have contributed, including:
- Cannock Chase Children's Centre staff
and The Good Life Parents and Children.
- Cannock Chase Council - Leisure Services
- Community Learning Partnerships
- Forestry Commission
- Heath Hayes Primary
- Moorhill Primary
- Multistory Artists - Rich, Kath and Gavin.
- Redbrook Hayes Primary
- Redhill Primary
- Sherbrook Valley
- Staffordshire Youth Service
- South Staffordshire PCT health teams
and public health staff.
- St Josephs Primary - Hednesford
Partners also wish to recognise the outstanding commitment and hard work from all the artists involved, especially Born Communication and Multistory.
The artwork from The Good Life book was created by Multistory. This was further developed for the website by Born Communication.