Health and wellbeing of new tenants is paramount
Tenants moving in to social housing are being given information by housing choices officers to help them live healthier lives – all thanks to an innovative project called New Home, New You. The partnership between ourselves, Plymouth City Council’s Public Health team and Livewell Southwest, encourages new residents to start making positive lifestyle changes when they sign up for their tenancies.
When they move into their homes, tenants will be asked if they want to volunteer to take part in the year-long study. Housing officers have been trained to talk about health and wellbeing issues and will carry out two short questionnaires about the resident’s lifestyle choices. They will then signpost people to the appropriate organisations for help and advice relating to their goals, such as stopping smoking, healthy eating and dental hygiene. Housing officers meet the residents at six months, nine months and 12 months to carry out the questionnaires again and see if there are any changes to the residents’ health or wellbeing.
PCH has also reviewed the contents of the welcome pack they give out to tenants. This contains useful household items like toilet roll, tea bags and washing up liquid, complemented with items designed to encourage good health and hygiene including toothbrushes and toothpaste. They also contain information about health- and wellbeing-related services. An evaluation of the project will be led by a post-graduate student at Marjon University.
“We are committed to improving people’s health in Plymouth and reducing health inequalities and we are working with all our partners to help make this happen”Councillor Lynda Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Plymouth City Council
Sue Shaw, director of homes, neighbourhoods and regeneration, said: “We know that housing and health are linked. A new home isn’t the answer to optimal wellbeing, but it can be the spur to make people change old habits. It’s not compulsory but if we can help residents to make good lifestyle choices, then that’s great. The start of a new tenancy could be the time that many people decide to make these improvements. We want to help people make those changes – whatever they might be.”
Councillor Lynda Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Plymouth City Council, added: “We are committed to improving people’s health in Plymouth and reducing health inequalities and we are working with all our partners to help make this happen. We are delighted that Plymouth Community Homes has taken this proactive approach, as one of our Thrive Plymouth partners, to improving the health of their tenants.
“Their housing officers have received training to have a wellbeing conversation with new tenants, with support from Plymouth City Council, Livewell Southwest and the Peninsula Dental School. I would like to wish the new PCH tenants and their housing officers involved the best of luck with this exciting project.”