Housing association is making Herefordshire healthier

Health development worker Jess Thomas (centre), with two members of the Kemble Housing Healthy Hub


Wednesday, 17 December 2014 

In just one year, a Herefordshire-based housing association has improved the health and wellbeing of residents in some of the county’s most deprived areas.

Kemble Housing has recently celebrated the first birthday of its Healthy Hub, a project that has empowered more than 40 residents across Herefordshire to become healthier and happier.

Funded through Kemble’s community chest fund, which helps to support projects that go above and beyond the housing association’s usual work, the scheme offers a number of services to residents, all aimed at improving their quality of life.

Housing plays a vital role in good health, with warm, condensation-free homes and access to green space having been shown to boost people’s wellbeing. Kemble recognised that as an affordable homes provider, it was in an ideal position to offer help and support to those in need. 

Karen Pritchard, assistant director of Kemble Housing, said: “This project was borne out of the idea that housing could and should play a more active role in helping our customers to live well. Whether this is helping to tackle issues around property condition, or helping customers stay fit and healthy.   

“I’m really proud of the Healthy Hub and the outcomes that our health development worker, Jess, has achieved. This project has now become part and parcel of what we do at Kemble.”

By working with the health development worker, Jess Thomas, residents can get advice on quitting smoking, eating healthily on a budget, exercising and looking after their mental wellbeing. Jess also acts as a signposting service, directing customers to professional services when needed.

She said: “The idea of the Healthy Hub is to empower residents, giving them the support and skills they need to sustain a healthier lifestyle.”

“Through the programme, we encourage customers to become more active, both physically and through their involvement with Kemble and the community. 

“I am delighted with the difference we have made to people’s lives in just one year. We’ve helped people tackle a number of issues to keep them happy and healthy.”

The first few months of the project were used to establish strong relationships with a number of external partners including local healthy lifestyle trainers, who offer a free 12-week service where clients can gain support to achieve a specific health related goal. 

Jess cited an example of one resident who, after being diagnosed with angina, used the Healthy Hub’s digital resources to gain a better understanding of his condition. He also used the signposting service to get in touch with a healthy lifestyle trainer. Through this, he has been able to rapidly improve his lifestyle, and is already seeing improvements to his wellbeing. The client has since referred a friend to the Healthy Hub service, helping to spread the good work it does.

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