We can be healthier if we work together.
That’s one of the findings of IBM, after joining forces with Calderdale Council on a unique project to use data to identify how we can encourage more active, healthy and longer lives in the borough.
The aim is to get people moving more in their daily lives to improve their health and wellbeing and connect with other people. This could include walking, cycling, sports and leisure activities.
For three weeks, six IBM experts worked with Calderdale Council at no cost to analyse data from the Council, the NHS, Public Health England, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Sports England and West Yorkshire Sport.
IBM also analysed the Council’s health marketing campaigns, technology and the support in place for activities in Calderdale to start up and keep going, and how local people can find out about them. The focus was on how this could all be set up to help people live healthier lives.
The team visited voluntary organisations that run groups and classes, schools and residents to understand what stops people being active and what might help them move more in their daily lives.
Residents all over Calderdale are already taking part in great activities such as walking, running and cycling groups, and the Council, with the help of IBM, wants to build on this. It also wants to tackle the fact that in some parts of the borough, people develop long-term illness 17 years earlier than other parts, and there is a 10 year difference in life expectancy.
IBM presented its findings at a public event at Orangebox young people’s centre in Halifax, and has advised the Council to:
- Work with current and new voluntary organisations and people that run any type and size of activities, groups and classes across Calderdale to create even more activities, and make it easier for local people to find out about what’s going on in their area.
- Understand and give residents more information about how healthy they currently are. This could help inspire them to take action themselves and start the journey to making healthy choices to move more in their daily lives. It could also help the Council signpost local people to the health services they need from information using a wide range of sources.
- Help residents to be the new leaders and role models promoting health among their families, friends and wider communities.
- Advise, share expertise and help new activities to set up, whilst encouraging and tracking this growth, to help make the vision of a healthier, happier Calderdale a reality.
Cllr Tim Swift, the Council’s Leader, said:
“It’s been incredibly valuable to have three weeks of innovation and consultancy support from world-leading technology company IBM. The project supports two of the Council’s priorities – to help residents be healthier by moving more, and for Calderdale to become a centre for digital and technological innovation.
”IBM’s findings are helping us to understand more about the things that stop people from being active and what would encourage them to move more. This will build on our work to improve health and wellbeing. We want to create a whole ‘better living movement’ where people can make healthier choices in all aspects of life – moving more is one part of this. This is something that all residents can be part of and we’re looking at how technology can help them find out about what’s going on in their area.
“This can only be achieved by working together. As IBM’s findings confirm once again that improving health is everyone’s business, we need to work with other organisations, residents and businesses, and build on existing community activities.”
The Council’s Better Living Team has helped hundreds of residents across Calderdale to lose weight and currently has free 12-week sessions available for those wanting to make a head start before the New Year. You can lose weight, learn more about food, have fun and make friends. Those delivering the sessions are fully qualified, friendly and don’t judge. Residents who fancy a healthier and happier version of themselves should call 01422 230230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org see if they are eligible.