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Neighbourhood Health Watches launches in Newton St Cyres

Posted on 17th May, 2013

The formal launch of the Newton St Cyres Neighbourhood Health Watch scheme will take place at the Crown and Sceptre on Saturday 22 June 2013. The Neighbourhood Health Watch project was launched by Devon Partnership NHS Trust in 2011.  Its primary aim is to enable people to support one another to improve the health and wellbeing of their community, with the support of local GPs. The idea came from a Devon-based GP, Dr Jane Aitken.  She recognised the potential to take the traditional Neighbourhood Watch approach – which enables residents to assist the police by working in partnership to help reduce crime – and use it to help improve the overall health and wellbeing of communities, using resources that already exist within them. The Newton St Cyres scheme is one of seven pilots set up across Devon – and is one of the most advanced.  Since September 2012, around 30 residents have dedicated themselves to looking into ways that they can help those in their community who may be vulnerable or in need and would benefit from community support of some kind. With the full backing of local GP, Dr Joe Mayes, and support from PC Keith Bradshaw and PCSO Lisa Crocker, the Health Watch has gone from strength to strength, answering a variety of calls for support.  These include spending time with an elderly lady who was upset because of a lost pet, carrying out minor DIY tasks for a local resident with mobility issues and arranging to collect a prescription for an elderly neighbour. Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Taylor, who is a member of the Neighbourhood Health Watch Strategic Steering Group, met with local volunteers in December 2012 to give her support. She said: “Well done to the people of Newton St Cyres, who have dedicated their time and effort into getting this scheme off the ground. It is already proving effective in bringing members of the local community together to support one another and help keep Newton St Cyres a healthy and safe place in which to live.” Dr Peter Aitken, Director of Research and Development, and Project Director for Neighbourhood Health Watch at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, added: “Neighbourhood Health Watch is all about helping communities support each other’s health and wellbeing needs and I congratulate the people of Newton St Cyres for embracing the idea and showing how successful it can be.  In many cases it is the small, simple gestures of help and support which can make a big difference to people’s lives.” An event to launch the scheme nationally, and celebrate the success of the Newton St Cyres project, will take place at the Crown and Sceptre, Newton St Cyres on Saturday 22 June 2013 from 12noon – 4pm.  To find out more about the scheme visit: www.neighbourhoodhealthwatch.org.uk or contact Jayne Clarke, Project Facilitator, on 01392 674112 or email jayneclarke@nhs.net

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