Residents in Southampton are set to benefit from a £5m investment that aims to tackle health inequalities in key community groups over the next five years
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded the funding following a successful bid by Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton, Solent University and Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS).
Set to commence in January 2024, Southampton will become one of a further eleven local authority areas that have committed to establishing Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRC).
The NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration Southampton will be hosted by the council, working with the universities and SVS to combine expertise in the wider determinants of health. Bringing together local government and community knowledge with research skills from the academic field, the aim is to improve the evidence base on which policy decisions are made in important areas that impact on health and health inequalities.
The first wave of NIHR funding saw thirteen HDRCs created, all of which have demonstrated a clear commitment to respond to the needs of local under-served groups and areas. Southampton will now also build plans to actively involve our local populations in the process of identifying steps to improve health outcomes in the target groups, easing the burden on the local NHS and stimulating growth and regeneration in deprived areas.
Anne Cato, who runs an activity group at the community centre in St Denys, collaborated on the Southampton HDRC bid and has shared her thoughts about it in a video.
Professor Janis Baird, Professor of Public Health & Epidemiology, University of Southampton, said: "This funding award will enable Southampton City Council and its partners to improve the health of the population by strengthening evidence-based practice. Building expertise and capacity in the council team is a vital part of this, and University of Southampton is delighted to be a partner in this work."
Dr Shelley Duncan, University Research Lead: Human Function and Health, Solent University, said: "This award provides an excellent opportunity to accelerate evidence-based policy and practice to reduce health inequalities within Southampton. Building on the capacity and expertise in the Southampton City Council team is key to this and Solent University is excited to partner in this work."
Councillor Lorna Fielker, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Health said: "This funding will enable us to focus on understanding the root causes of poor health and wellbeing which in turn will help us devise policies that can really make a difference to peoples’ lives across the city. I’d like to thank all the officers from the council and partner colleagues who have worked so hard to put together such a compelling bid for the funding".