Well Newcastle Gateshead is one of the pathfinders of Well North, a Public Health England-funded initiative across 10 areas in the North of England to improve the health of the poorest people fastest. Well North’s underlying principle is that social and economic inequalities lead to poor health.
Creating better health and wellbeing is all about being part of a vibrant and connected community and living in a pleasant environment, rather than just quitting smoking or eating better – important though these are. It means tackling debt, lack of jobs and training, missed education opportunities, poor housing, and loneliness. Being creative, having fun and joining up the dots is key to success.
Well North links people who share this vision and want to unleash the exciting potential within places and individuals. Its goal is to help transform neighbourhoods into dynamic communities where local people can live, work, and thrive.
Well Newcastle Gateshead is funded by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council together with Public Health England. Our agreed focus is on improving engagement and health outcomes in disadvantaged communities through art and better use of local assets. We have been working since early 2016 to agree a governance framework and a focus for the work with partners that include arts organisations, schools, universities, voluntary sector partners, the two local authorities and Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group
- Create – exploring the connection between health and the arts in the most challenged local communities.
- Connect – working creatively with children 2-7 years old, their parents and grandparents to improve school readiness and using the opportunity of the Great North Exhibition to develop work about their future aspirations which can be showcased and sponsored by local businesses.
- Aspire – looking at mental health, low self-esteem and social isolation in estates; connecting central cultural venues, local community arts organisations, place based voluntary organisations and local people to existing community assets in order to enhance cohesion, skills, employment opportunities and aspirations.
We want to explore how we can use all these assets to improve the health and wellbeing of people across four of our communities.
In Felling and Inner West Newcastle we are focusing on working with children aged two to seven, along with their parents and grandparents, with the aim of improving school readiness. In Byker and Chopwell we tackle social isolation, mental ill-health, and low self-esteem in adults.
We are starting small and trying to make sure that whatever we do is grounded in local communities. We will aim to build on the good work already taking place in our selected areas
Currently there is a steering group in place made up of both local authorities, the CCG, trustees from the Blue Stone Consortium (the accountable body), community arts organisations, Newcastle Gateshead cultural venues, and a cultural diversity organisation. The steering group will include place based voluntary sector organisations in the future.
Participation and funding
Well Newcastle Gateshead has now launched the Arts Fund and you can look into applying for funding here: Well Newcastle Gateshead Arts Fund
Over the three years we have secured £1 million from Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, and Public Health England to deliver an exciting programme to meet our vision.
For further details, please contact Mark Mulqueen, Programme Director of Well Newcastle Gateshead: