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Poplar HARCA, LBTH, THHF & Gateway Housing Association launch first Tower Hamlets Health & Housing conference

23/07/2019

On 23rd July, Poplar HARCA, Tower Hamlets Council, Tower Hamlets Housing Forum & Gateway Housing Association hosted the first Tower Hamlets Health & Housing conference. The event aimed to bring housing and health professionals together to explore the relationship between the two sectors.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Cllr Sirajul Islam (Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, Tower Hamlets Council)
  • Dr Somen Bannerjee (Director of Public Health, Tower Hamlets)
  • Abigail Knight (Associate Director of Public Health, Tower Hamlets)
  • Will Howard (Health & Housing Officer, HACT)
  • Hanif Osmani (Programme Manager for Health & Wellbeing, Poplar HARCA)
  • Richard Fradgley (Director of Integrated Care, East London NHS Foundation Trust)

As an inner-city borough with one of the country’s most rapidly growing populations, Tower Hamlets faces a number of health-related challenges. While progress has been made in recent years, improvement is still needed, particularly in the areas of childhood obesity, mental health and life expectancy.

Speakers spoke about the important role that collaboration between organisations will play when tackling these issues.

Research shows that 40% of the factors that determine an individual’s health are related to social and economic factors, with a further 10% related to the physical environment in which an individual lives. These findings highlight the fact that addressing health in Tower Hamlets will require a broad partnership.

In 2017, Tower Hamlets Together (a partnership of local health and social care organisations) launched a new Health & Wellbeing Strategy for the borough. The conference explored the important role that local housing providers can play in helping to support the strategy as work continues to meet its objectives.

Housing providers also had the opportunity to promote and share existing best practice, such as The Well One partnership, a local network of 25+ organisations launched in 2017 to address health & wellbeing in Poplar and Bow. The partnership of GPs, schools, housing providers, corporate companies, the council, community organisations and others aims to increase physical activity, healthy eating and social connectivity in the local area.

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We know that housing has a significant impact on our residents’ financial, physical and mental wellbeing. We have made it a priority to fight for a housing market that works for everyone, whether that be by securing more genuinely affordable housing, tackling rogue landlords or building 1,000 more council homes. I’m pleased to see Poplar HARCA bringing health and housing specialists together as we all work to deliver the best results for the residents of Tower Hamlets.”

Hanif Osmani, Programme Manager for Health & Wellbeing at Poplar HARCA, said: “Housing providers have a central role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of local residents – and many already do more on this agenda than they realise. We recognise that none of us can tackle the problem of health inequalities alone and the conference provided us all with a great opportunity to come together to share best practice, start to brainstorm some new ideas and create new relationships. It was just the start of the conversation and we’re all keen to continue to work together.”

Simon Walton, Interim Director of Resident Services at Gateway Housing Association and Health & Wellbeing Lead for the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum, said: “I was delighted to be part of such an excellent event which was very informative, interactive and more importantly will leave a legacy to increase wellbeing for the residents of Tower Hamlets through more partnership working.”

“We know that housing has a significant impact on our residents’ financial, physical and mental wellbeing. We have made it a priority to fight for a housing market that works for everyone, whether that be by securing more genuinely affordable housing, tackling rogue landlords or building 1,000 more council homes."

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing