Lower Shankill health impact assessment is launched
Published: Mon, 15 Jun 2009
We recently launched the findings of our first ever Health Impact Assessment to be commissioned in Belfast at a special event in Malvern Primary School.
The asssessment focused on the Lower Shankill estate was carried out in partnership with Belfast Healthy Cities and Investing for Health.
Health Impact Assessments are all abut the overall effects, direct or indirect, of a policy, strategy, programme or project on the health and wellbeing of a community. They are designed to influence decision making by raising awareness of the linkage between social, environmental and economic factors. They are also an effective way of encouraging those directly affected to become involved in the decision making process, while providing an opportunity to create healthier living environments and to support healthier lifestyles.
The Lower Shankill area is a key element of our Greater Shankill Housing Strategy and we are committed to ensuring that the people of the area, young and old, have a real input into any future plans for their area.
Speaking at the launch our Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships, Colm McQuillan said “The link between housing and health has been well documented over the years. We know that good quality housing and housing services contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of communities and that poor housing can have a negative effect on those communities.
“However, to improve the health and wellbeing of communities requires collaborative working and the Health Impact Assessment has allowed us to do this. Through the assessment we have been able to gauge the views and concerns of not only residents but other stakeholders in the Lower Shankill. And the findings will be used to inform any future proposals for the area.
“On behalf of the Housing Executive I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the Health Impact Assessment, especially Erica Ison who carried out the study and Malvern Primary School and the Shankill Leisure Centre which facilitated many of the meetings and events.
Joan Devlin, Director of Belfast Healthy Cities, echoed those sentiments and added “Belfast Healthy Cities was delighted to bring their Health Impact Assessment expertise to the project. The Health Impact Assessment allows stakeholders in the area to be involved in identifying the key issues affecting local peoples’ health and the information gathered will form the basis for recommendations to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of the Lower Shankill. “
As part of the assessment children from Malvern Primary School had their say about their future health and wellbeing and Principal Marie Foreman said “We are always delighted to participate in projects like this. Not only did the Health Impact Assessment and associated projects, like the poster competition, give the children a chance to have their say but it also gave them a real sense of pride in their community.”