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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

House builders sign up to NHS scheme to transform homes into healthier environments

Written by Jennifer Cockerell

Housing developers and associations have signed up to an NHS scheme which will see them make people's home environments a healthier place.

The partnerships with NHS England aim to expand ideas for healthy living such as dementia-friendly houses and restricting fast food sales to children.

Other schemes that could be rolled out as part of future plans include digitally-monitored fitness programmes to get more people exercising, and community healthy food cafes and after school clubs which will offer employment to those with learning disabilities.

Outdoor gyms and pop-up community gardens will also be encouraged.

Twelve housing developers and associations - including British Land, Peabody, and Clarion Housing Group - have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging their commitment to prioritising health and wellbeing in the planning, development and management of new housing developments and regeneration schemes.

It is part of NHS England's Healthy New Towns Network, which was set up to explore new ways to tackle the big health and care challenges of the 21st century such as obesity, dementia and social isolation.

NHS England chairman, Professor Sir Malcolm Grant (pictured), said: "The Healthy New Towns Network means new and exciting ideas of healthy living will be at the heartbeat of towns and villages of the future.

"We aim to enable millions of people across the country, and future generations, to live happier and healthy lives, which is vital to delivering the long-term plan for the NHS."

Dr Yvonne Doyle, regional director for PHE in London, said: "It is well known that we have a shortage of housing in England and evidence shows where we live influences our health.

"It is vital that when we build new homes we design health in at the very beginning. The Healthy New Towns Network will help us to craft a better urban environment and reduce health inequalities."

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