Healthy town = Eco Town ?

9 Jun 2008 by Karl Hallam

When is an Eco Town a Healthy Town?

Well probably when a local authority employs a good bid writer and as a result they get bit of cash for each initiative.

The Department of Health are inviting bids to a new £30 million Healthy Communities Challenge Fund. Which spread over 3 years and the whole of England perhaps is not so exciting after all, even though Healthy Towns will, as the brochure puts it:

'Come up with innovative new ways to improve the health of their inhabitants ... ideas could include, increasing the number of cycle lanes, walking promotion schemes andproviding local healthy food initiatives'.

This is part of the Government's cross-cutting obesity strategy and it's not that Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, a keen cyclist, does not get it, demonstrated by him saying:

'Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society. The core of the problem is simple - we eat too much and we do too little exercise. The solution is more complex. From the nature of the food that we eat to the built environment through to the way our children lead their lives, it is harder to avoid obesity in the modern world'.

Is another challenge fund the answer though, do Challenge Funds really make a difference? I am sure plenty have been monitored and evaluated and consulted upon ... will giving a town a few hundred thousand, employing a Healthy Town co-ordinator and setting up a new partnership tell us anything?

Can we have any confidence that Government sees that an Eco Town will be a Healthy Town if it really is an Eco Town?



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