Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) provides a wide range of high quality community health services for Medway residents; from health visitors and district nurses to speech and language therapists and out of hours urgent care.
ASPIRE (Adding to Social capital and individual Potential In disadvantaged REgions) has received more than €7 million from the European Regional Development Fund.
ASPIRE is part of the Interreg VA Channel programme and will run from September 2019 to February 2023. The project has a total budget of over €10million and involves partners from the UK and France (see partner details below).
Obesity across the FCE (France Channel England) area is a significant concern; high levels of obesity coincide with high rates of unemployment across the zone. A Gallup poll shows that the longer a person is unemployed, the higher the rates of obesity, with rates reaching up to 32.7% after a year or more of unemployment.
ASPIRE will give obese/overweight and/or unemployed people the tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices and improve their employability. Current health and employment services rarely work together to tackle the issues as one problem, despite the evidence that they are linked. A new FCE model, co-created using partner expertise in both fields, will holistically combine the necessary support to increase employability with access to local healthy food produce and consequent weight loss. The model will be implemented via 7 implementation sites and innovative technology in order to enable participants to improve their relationship with food and provide them with the skills and support they need to gain access to the labour market. Current services also have difficulties in reaching the target audience due to the remoteness of much of the non-urban target population. Public Health England data shows a correlation between the fact that most services are delivered in town centre locations (lower obesity rates) and rural populations are disadvantaged (higher obesity rates) as access to services is harder.