Agenda item

Public Health Update (Sac.14.02.2020/4)


Strength and Balance – options for investment and potential for contribution from partners – Alec Tinker

Road Safety and Air Quality around schools – Diane Lee

Food Access – Christus Ferneyhough


Diane Lee, Head of Public Health, Christus Ferneyhough, Senior Public Health Officer, Alec Tinker, Senior Public Health Officer, and Ged Savva from Magpie were welcomed to the meeting.


Members were reminded of the previous discussion about options to improve strength and balance.  Those present were made of interventions currently available including those for falls prevention, strength and balance, and exercise groups.


Also noted was the data relating to falls and proportion that had occurred in care homes, however it was noted that these could be due to a number of reasons.  Members acknowledged that initiatives such as sloppy slippers would help to reduce falls, but questions were raised about whether checks were carried out in homes.


Members heard that ‘Safe and Well’ delivered by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service provided home checks, which covered fire safety but also would consider slips, trips and falls and issues such as fuel poverty.  It was noted that the service did operate proactively but also would respond to referrals from such as the Private Sector Housing Officer. Members heard that there was an information sharing protocol in place in order to pass information between the Council and Fire Service to aid the identification of residents who may benefit from such services.


Following on from the previous meeting where Members had decided to fund the training of 24 individuals to be able to undertake Functional Fitness MOT (FFMOT) assessments, those present discussed various options for ensuring assessments were undertaken.  These included paying for assessor time, and providing appropriate resources such as leaflets and flyers.  Suggestions were made to offer the training free as part of continuous professional development with a preference to those who would be willing to contribute time to undertake assessments free of charge. 

Consensus was that larger Health and Wellbeing Events, with a variety of providers being in attendance may be the preferred way to engage with potential beneficiaries.


Members went on to consider ‘Move It Or Lose It’ and proposals to train provide level 2 fitness instructors to engage people over 65 years old in strength and balance exercises.   Members noted the cost of providing such a service, and the associated variables including room hire costs, and discussed the potential of charging a contribution to attend the sessions.


Those present heard how Fit Reds had been operating in the area for approximately 8 weeks with the highest rates of engagement in the borough and the lowest rate of drop outs.  This served to highlight the lack access to health and wellbeing activities in the area.


Members were supportive of the FFMOT and ‘Move It Or Lose It’ proposals but wish to receive more fully developed costings at a future meeting prior to any approval.


Members then went to consider information relating to food access and underweight children.  The weight and height of all children in reception and year 7 of primary school are measured, their body mass index (BMI) calculated, and children are categorised as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.


For reception, Members heard how the percentage of underweight children in Barnsley significantly exceeded both national and regional figures. However data related to very small numbers across the borough.  For year 6 Barnsley was not statistically higher than the regional or national average.  In addition to those underweight obesity also remains a concern for both reception and year 6 years, emphasising the need for a healthy, balanced, portion controlled diet.


Members considered data by ward and by school, and although numbers were relatively small, they did cause some concern. 


Ways in order to address the issue were considered, which included food banks, promoting the take up of free school meals, encouraging healthy packed lunches, and providing breakfast clubs at schools.


Members discussed food banks and the requirement for a referral from a health professional for one off support.  It was noted that donations of formula were being discouraged as often the formula required was tailored to the needs of a baby. A position statement on this issue was being drafted by colleagues in Public Health and would be provided to Members.


The take up for free school meals was debated, and a request was made for rates to be broken down further if possible to explore whether take up reduced in year 3 onwards.  Members discussed whether low take up may be down to the eating habits of some children or stigma attached in applying for free school meals.  Members asked to be provided details of the process to apply for free school meals.


With regards to the lunchbox toolkit it was noted that although this had been developed, it had yet to be piloted.  Members heard that the Wombwell Ward Alliance was working with Park Street School and with parents using donated food to construct balanced packed lunches for the week.


Members noted the importance of breakfast for children and the impact this had on learning.  Those present were made aware of support from Magic Breakfast in establishing breakfast clubs, with a view to them becoming self-sustaining in the longer term.


Members recognised the role of schools, and supported the interventions and campaigns being undertaken but also acknowledged the need to encouraging parents to make the right choices, and a suggestion was made that parents could be engaged through summer events.


The meeting went on to consider the issue of air quality, especially around schools.  It was acknowledged that some resource is available to support interventions, and that South had been suggested as a pilot area to reduce car idling around schools.  Similarly to the Smoke Free Schools campaign, this would be based on encouragement, rather than enforcement.  This will include producing signage outside schools, and will feature on social media to raise awareness of the issues.  This work will tie in with promotion of road safety and active travel to school, the Beat The Street campaign, and also Clean Air Day on 18th June.


Members were supportive of the approach, and discussed the issues of buses idling for extended periods.  It was noted that this had been raised with bus providers, and although this issue was hard to enforce, Members were encouraged to continue to report the issue to the relevant bus provider and to Regulatory Services.


Ged Savva from Magpie provided feedback on Smoke Free Hoyland.  Members were reminded of the previous discussions on the subject and the fact that research had highlighted that 96% of visitors to Hoyland Town Centre did not smoke which was something to be celebrated.  It was noted that the rates quoted included vaping.


As part of the work events had been held in order to ascertain what was the spirit of Hoyland and develop a place identity.  This work would culminate in a launch of Barnsley’s first smoke free place, promoting a better shopping experience. 


As part of developing a place identity an artist was to be engaged, with a local panel to shortlist 3 artists and a community vote on final designs.

It was noted that Hoyland Place Champions would be recruited and these volunteers would also have a budget to keep the momentum of the work going.  In addition a marketing plan would be developed to encourage new users and business growth in the area.


Members heard that prospective dates for a launch event would be circulated to Members and coverage for the area was expected to be extremely positive.  Those present commended the work of Magpie. 



(i)            That thanks be given to those giving presentations;

(ii)          That a future meeting of the Area Council receives fully developed and costed proposals to increase strength and balance provision in the area;

(iii)         That a position statement of the issue of the provision of infant formal at food banks be circulated to Members;

(iv)         That details of the procedure for parents to apply for free school meals be circulated to Members together with more data relating to take up;

(v)          That the work to improve healthy eating as part of reducing numbers of underweight children be supported, and that Members provide support where possible to encourage parents and schools to raise awareness around this subject;

(vi)             That the work on ‘Smoke Free Hoylandbe commended and that Members provide feedback on prospective launch dates.

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