A new EU INTERREG VA funded project has recently commenced in the border region. Called CoH-Sync, the project is aimed at supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing and was developed by the CAWT cross border health and social care Partnership.
A competitive tendering exercise was held and the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum was successful in winning the £364,000 contract for the Derry-Strabane Council area. Donegal Local Development Company CLG was successful in winning the €407,000 contract for the Letterkenny / North Donegal area, the €407,000 contract for the Ballyshannon / South Donegal area and, with the support of local providers, the €407,000 contract for the Monaghan / Cavan area. ARC Healthy Living Centre, with the support of local providers, was successful in winning the £364,000 contract for the Enniskillen / West Fermanagh area.
Attendees at the Community Health Facilitators training which took place in Omagh in Northern Ireland and was delivered by Health and Well-being Specialists from NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
A total of 8 Coh-Sync Hubs will be developed within target areas; six in total in the border areas of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and two in south west Scotland.
Each health and well-being hub will work on a cross border basis, facilitating people to improve their health and wellbeing in areas such as physical activity, mental health, nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption, which are risk factors for the development of long term conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. Research shows that people living in border areas are affected to a greater degree by obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol misuse.
Attendees at the Community Health Facilitators training which took place in Omagh in Northern Ireland and was delivered by Health and Well-being Specialists from NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland (left to right): Siobhan Coyle, Donegal Local Development Company: Lorraine Kivelehan, Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum; Una Meehan, Lakeland Community Care Belcoo and Catherine Weitbrecht, Donegal Local Development Company.
As part of the project, staff from across the hub localities have commenced training as a first step in ensuring that the project is ready to deliver the best possible support and advice to people. The first training course for Community Health Facilitators took place in Omagh and was attended by Health Facilitators from Hubs based in the border corridor. This specialised training was delivered by Health and Well-being Specialists from NHS Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, who are also partners in the CoH-Sync project.
Commenting, Dr Maura O Neill from the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: “This much needed EU INTERREG VA funding provides opportunities to increase Health Facilitator capacity across the Trust and the three regions and enables us to share expertise and knowledge across borders. The training provided by NHS Dumfries & Galloway will give the local CoH-Sync Project’s Community Health Facilitators additional skills to support them in addressing health inequalities in the border region.”
Funding for the initiative was secured by the cross border health services partnership, Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) from the European Union’s INTERREG VA programme. The Western Health and Social Care Trust is a CAWT partner organisation.
Notes to editors:
- The CAWT Community Health Sync (CoH-Sync) project is scheduled to complete in 2022.
- The CAWT Community Health Sync project partners are the HSE, Western Health and Social Care Trust; Southern Health and Social Care Trust; Public Health Agency, Health and Social Care Board and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
- The CAWT Community Health Sync Project has received grant funding totalling €5.01 million and is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and match funded by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government with support from the Scottish Government.
- The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border cooperation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
- The INTERREG VA Programme has a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution of €240 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders.
For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu