Newcastle is a Designated City within Phase V (five) of the WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network and a founder member of our WHO affiliated country network - UK Healthy Cities Network

    The UK only has only 14 designated cities so it is a great honour that we are part of the European network and the wider world movement around urban health.

    Our history of involvement goes back to 1995 when Newcastle Healthy City, a former local community development organisation, began to get involved with the World Health Organisation and represent the city at WHO meetings. 

    Phase V, which lasts from 2009 to 2013, has as its overarching theme "Health and health equity in all policies" - you can read more about the background behind that here.  

    To become a designated city, Newcastle has demonstrated that it has the highest level political and strategic commitment to making sure that Newcastle is a setting where all people can live happy, healthy and long lives.  As part of the process to apply for designation, elected members in Newcastle City Council agreed to the Zagreb Healthy City Declaration: health and health equity in all local policies.

    Why it is important for us to be part of the Network?

    There are a number of aspects to this.

    Firstly, we contribute.  We share what we do well with other cities so they can learn through our experience.  We also contribute to the growing knowledge about what works on the ground to improve public health.

    Secondly, we learn.  We learn from the experiences and good practice of other cities.

    Thirdly, we keep at the forefront.  We have access to the best of the world’s research in urban health through WHO’s academic contacts.  This makes us one of a number of ‘testing grounds’ for putting cutting edge research into practice.

    Fourthly, we maintain the momentum and focus that we must have to create a city where all people enjoy equal access to a healthy, happy life.

    Key roles and responsibilities

    The Wellbeing for Life Board acts as our intersectoral steering group for involvement in Newcastle's work as a WHO Designated Healthy City.  Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Wellbeing for Life Board said:

    “I am very passionate and ambitious about reducing inequalities in wellbeing and health in Newcastle upon Tyne. Wellbeing and health, and unfairness in the right to good health, have to be at the heart of everything we do. Designated status as a WHO Healthy City means that we are one of a number of cities across Europe at the forefront of a world movement for urban health. We all know what the issues are, but designated cities are the trailblazers of innovating and learning how to tackle them, making sure that their research informs our policies and practices and the way we work to improve wellbeing and ehealth. These links, and this trailblazer role, are so important to me that I have personally accepted the role of Newcastle’s Lead Politician for our involvement in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network”

    Councillor Veronica Dunn, Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Public Health, is named as our Lead Politician for involvement in the Network

    Helen Wilding, Wellbeing for Life Development lead, is the coordinator of our involvement and leads on our relationship with WHO.

    Our participation in the networks

    You can read about the meetings of the UK Healthy Cities Network on their website.

    WHO European Network Business and Technical Conference 2010, Sandnes, Norway

    WHO European Network Business and Technical Conference 2011, Liege, Belgium