Cllr Vincent Jackson deputising for Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy launched the Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme at a community event in the Ballyfermot Civic Officer on Thursday 27th April 2023.
Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a cross-Government initiative to deliver increased health and wellbeing services to 19 community areas across Ireland. This programme will be delivered locally in Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot in partnership with the HSE, Dublin City Council, Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership and other community organisations such as FamiliBase, Ballyfermot Resource Centre and The Orchard Centre.
Cllr Vincent Jackson said, “The challenge of addressing health inequalities in our communities requires not only interventions to target particular health risks, but also a broad focus on addressing the wider determinants of health. To make real and lasting change we need to work together to create communities where people can thrive, putting in place the right building blocks for health, stable jobs, good pay, quality housing, good education and accessible amenities that enhance and improve our built environment.”
He continued, “Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a collaborative programme with DCC, the HSE and Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership where we all work together to ensure that our communities in greatest need are supported to live longer healthier lives. These are exciting times for the community in Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot and I look forward to seeing the great progress that has been made.”
Margaret McQuillan, HSE Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow Head of Health and Wellbeing spoke next. She highlighted the evidence-based and practical programmes available in the Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot area as part of the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme. These include Stop Smoking Service, We Can Quit, Parenting Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy, Social Prescribing and Making Every Contact Count. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from people who have participated in some of these programmes. Seán Maguire, Val Cullen, Noeleen Fanning & Andrea Malone gave meaningful first-hand accounts of the impact the programmes have had on their lives and encouraged others to avail of these free services in their local community.
This was further reiterated by Anne Fitzgerald, CEO Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership who deliver these programmes in the community. As a well-established community organisation they welcomed the further funding through Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme which allows them to continue to deliver and expand their services.
Tom James, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Department of Health said “There seems to be a real sense of empowerment for those who have become involved in the initiatives under the programme, showing the opportunities for real and positive changes for the people in this community. All of these programmes we are talking about today are available free of charge to the people living in Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot and I’m reminded of what one of the participants said in another Healthy Community area – “very often the biggest step is just coming along on that first day”.
Joanna Kelly, Dublin City’s Local Development Officer Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot said, “These locally commissioned community partners who have an existing reach and engagement into the Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot community are a key asset to the programme as they are already embedded in the community. We have taken an evidence-informed approach to our work tackling health inequalities in the community and are building on existing health and wellbeing programmes in Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot. We are working collaboratively to better mobilise available resources to address local needs.”
Pic Credit: Fennell Photography