Junior Health Minister Frank Feighan is in Donegal today for the launch of the the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Initiative.
The launch is in two stages, with an event in Gweedore this morning, and another in Buncrana this afternoon.
The programme is a collaboration between the Department of Health, Donegal County Council, the HSE and a number of local partners including Inishowen Development Company, Ionad Naomh Padraig Family Resource Centre, Finn Valley Family Resource Centre and Donegal Local Development Company.
Together they are delivering evidence-based programmes and community initiatives across Donegal to support people’s wellbeing within the community and provide better access to a range of services needed to promote healthier lifestyle behaviours.
At the launch in Gweedore this morning, Minister Feighan said Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a collective programme where all agencies work together to ensure that our communities in greatest need are supported to live longer, healthier lives.
He added “The health services cannot make these changes happen alone. To make real and lasting change we need to work together to create communities where people can thrive. Our local community partners know better than anyone else what challenges this community faces and the strengths with it. They have the relationships and trust of the community and will be a key to the success of this programme as they are already imbedded into your community.”
Dermot Monaghan described how the HSE long–term investment of €520,000 annually will provide for the establishment and delivery of a variety of different programmes in the area as part of the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme. These will include; a Free one to one Stop Smoking Service, We Can Quit Community based smoking cessation programmes, Parenting Support Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy cookery courses and Social Prescribing programmes to support people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Liam Ward, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Service for Community & Planning with Donegal County Council confirmed that the local authority is undertaking 6 capital projects with funding received from the Department of Health under the Slaintecare Healthy Communities Enhancement Works Programme with a total value of €498,814.00 The projects which were agreed by the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) are divided between the two Slaintecare sites – Gaeltacht and Inishowen. The enhancement funding in the Gaeltacht area, is currently being used to redevelop a playground facility in Dungloe, to enhance the Muckish Greenway project, and to help deliver Scioból na bhfear, Men’s Shed on Tory Island. The Inishowen programme area will see the upgrade of the Barrack Hill Town Park, Carndonagh, the Moville playground and the resurfacing of the Tip O’ Neill walking trail outside Buncrana. The acquisition of a special lightweight wheelchair which will be located at the Sliabh Sneacht Centre Drumfries to allow those with mobility issues to enjoy the trial.
Chair of the Regional Health Forum West, Councillor Gerry McMonagle while welcoming today’s launch has called for more Community Intervention Teams to be rolled out in Donegal.
There is currently one team in the county.
Councillor McMonagle says with 3,874 bed days lost at Letterkenny University Hospital from January to October, it shows the need for additional resources in the community: