Thu, 17/06/2010 - 10:00

    17 – 19 June 2010


    The theme for the 2010 conference was “The Hidden Cities: Addressing Equity in Health and Inclusiveness in Cities”.  It is the first conference since Newcastle became a Designated Healthy City within Phase V (five) of the European Healthy City Network.  There is a formal conference report so here we focus on our experience.


    Sandnes, Norway 

    Main shopping street in SandnesSandnes is on the south western tip of Norway.  It is the only European Designated Healthy City in Norway.  It feels small by Newcastle standards – it has a population of around 63,000 and we were informed that around 30% of these are young people.  Stavanger and its airport (fly direct from Newcastle!) are nearby.

    The hospitality Sandnes gave WHO delegates was second to none.  There were many themed cultural events – walks, cycling and even Russian folk dancing to watch at 8.45 in the morning!  On the final evening, we boarded a coach ride up into the mountains via lakes and fjords and were treated to a dinner and troll stories in a mountain cave.


    Our delegation

    Our delegationUnfortunately, our Lead Politician, Cllr Liz Langfield, was not available to attend the conference this year.  Cllr Anita Lower attended in her place.

    The other members of our delegation were:

    • Angela Wallis, Health Improvement Officer, Environment and Regeneration Directorate, Newcastle City Council
    • Helen Wilding, Wellbeing and Health Partnership Coordinator
    • Lucy Thompson, Citizen’s Assembly Coordinator, Newcastle Healthy City
    • Nick Brereton, Children’s Participation Coordinator, Children’s Services Directorate, Newcastle City Council
    • Nick Forbes, Chief Executive, Community Action on Health
    • Sarah Cowling, Chief Executive, HealthWORKS Newcastle


    What we shared

    We presented three different case studies at the conference.Nick, Sarah and Lucy preparing for their presentation

    Working with communities in Newcastle to reduce health inequalities

    Presented jointly by Nick Forbes, Sarah Cowling and Lucy Thompson

    Abstract                      Full Paper


    Lucy, Sarah and I made a presentation on community engagement work in Newcastle. It was great to be able to share some of the good work that we’ve been doing with an international audience, and compare the UK’s approach to community engagement with that of other countries. What was really inspiring, however, was the focus that the WHO places on tackling health inequalities. They have produced evidence on why it should be a core policy requirement for any city, and are really clear that good health is a human right. It reminded me how we, in the voluntary and community sector, must continue to advocate for improved health for all and a reduction in health inequalities. The WHO framework is one which I’ll be sharing with colleagues and promoting widely within our local infrastructure.

    Nick Forbes, Chief Executive, Community Action on Health

    Delivering a Smoke-Free City

    Presented by Angela Wallis

    Full Paper

    My case study was about the work of the Smoke Free Project Office in preparing for the introduction of the Smoke Free legislation on 1 July 2007. I presented on Saturday 19 June 2010 to around twenty people. I received lots of questions about our work. Of particular interest to countries that had not yet implemented smoke free legislation was how did we win the hearts and minds of our citizens? As yet, they had not discovered how to mobilise the majority voice of the non-smoker. Thus I was able to share knowledge of not only our local work, but also how the debate for smoke free legislation was won nationally through  lobbying, advocacy and extensive use of the media.

    Angela Wallis, Health Improvement Officer, Environment and Regeneration Directorate, Newcastle City Council

    U Decide – children spending public money

    Presented by Nick Brereton

    Full paper 


    A Good life

    The Learning Disability User Champions DVD “A good life” was included on the conference DVD along with contributions from other cities.


    What we learned

    We learned much more about the social model of health and how this public health research needs to affect the way that we do our work locally.  It is very easy to assume that ‘health’ is the job of the NHS or social care services but this research now proves it really needs to be part of everyone’s business.  The places we live and the society we live in has a fundamental affect on the health of each and every one of us – not just those who are disadvantaged.



    As it is the decisions we make on a day to day basis that can help bring about health and health equity, the Wellbeing and Health Partnership Executive is initiating work to roll out this understanding to more of us who work in Newcastle.


    Social inequities in health are systematic differences between social classes which are modifiable and thus unfair.

    Equity in health refers to unnecessary and avoidable differences in health - ethically and morally unacceptable. Health and health equity is something we can all work on and contribute to; from how we communicate with businesses to allocating resources. Everything that everybody does who works within the public sector has the potential to make a difference; whether that difference results in a positive outcome, that is work to tackle social determinants of health, depends how well the argument has been made - making the economic argument is key. 

    Angela Wallis, Health Improvement Officer, Environment and Regeneration Directorate, Newcastle City Council