Rosa Vaquero, Head of Communications, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
May 14, 2019
In our work addressing complex health issues prevalent in inner-city London, we take a place-based approach. For us, this involves combining data, evidence and people’s lived experience to guide our work; building partnerships and working at different scales to drive impact.
We’re interested in exploring how others view place-based approaches – what their distinct value is in helping to improve people’s health in the long term.
Following part one of our short blog series, here we ask eight more thought leaders to share opportunities and challenges for place-based approaches to make a difference to people’s health at home and abroad in the next ten years.
“The NHS was a place-based service, designed by patient citizens. That was its founding narrative and its place in the nation’s affections is the lasting impact of its design – it was designed by people for people. The future of the NHS is equally dependant on our ability to re-learn and re-apply in the modern context what we know works in relation to place-based health and care. One of the key tools in place-based health and care making is that of community engagement.”
“Tinkering at the margins of health services alone is not enough. Place-based approaches enable us to rethink how we use resources in the system and reorient health and care models to reflect the reality of people’s lives; shifting the conversation from ‘what can this service do better?’ to ‘what would help you live well?’ Place-based working offers a new model; one that moves the focus from organisations to people, competition to collaboration, service silos to system outcomes.”
“There are so many areas where charities and funders can work more creatively with local government and the NHS. Sitting atop this list, together they can design and deliver services that address local social determinants of health and barriers to stronger, collective, community wellbeing. Achieving this won't be easy. But more sustainable solutions, rooted in and tailored to the communities that need and use them, are a prize worth striving for.”
“Building healthy environments for the future means more than gyms and health food shops on every corner. It means creating living conditions in which everyone can achieve and remain in good health, no matter their background. Needless to say, this requires looking at more than just our health services. Embedding public health priorities in planning and licensing processes – as we are already seeing in some councils – is vital to progress in these areas.”
“We need bring together our partners, including the NHS, police and emergency services, schools, colleges, businesses and community and voluntary services to support local communities to live better, healthier and more engaged lives. A clear sense of ‘place’ is vital to giving meaning to this level of partnership working. A lot of the administrative areas we use for the NHS and, to some extent, local government may have absolutely no meaning for local communities.”
“Gaining an awareness of the initiatives local to our projects is as important as the initiatives themselves... Through this we will have the opportunity to explore how the internal and external environments we create can contribute more specifically to improving the wellbeing of the neighbouring community. We know we cannot operate alone in achieving this goal and that it will need a combined effort on the part of planning departments and the clients we work with too.”
Paul Monaghan, Director at architecture practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
“The social and economic conditions of the places where we live, work and socialise are as important, if not more powerful determinants of our health and wellbeing. Southwark Council understands the vital importance of place on health, community empowerment and economic productivity. By bringing together planning, regeneration, public health and communities under one roof, the council is committed to promoting inclusive regeneration and asset-based community development, improving health and addressing inequalities.”
“Cities are drivers of change. They are uniquely places to act on the needs of their citizens. Today more than half the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is expected to grow. Cities are critical to improving public health - leading the way on policies like smoke-free public places, increasing access to healthy public food and creating safe, public spaces for all to enjoy. When mayors and leaders help their cities live healthier and safer lives, cities are more prosperous.”
We have been working in our place in South London for over 500 years. Since 2017, we've taken a more focused approach – engaging with the specificity of our area, its assets and challenges – to draw richer insights on complex health issues.
23 April, 2020
As a funder, our priority is to support our partners and the communities most affected by COVID-19. Our Portfolio Director, Louise Mousseau, sets out the actions we've taken to date and how we're adapting our work in response to a changing environment.