Ealing Council has been awarded £5m from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to help tackle health inequalities and improve health outcomes in the borough.
NIHR has invested a total £55m into funding 11 new Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs) over the next 5 years and as well as Ealing being selected, other local authorities who won funding include Essex County Council, Somerset Council, Cumberland Council and Cornwall Council.
The council says that over the next five years, the funding will help it understand better where there are health challenges across Ealing and ways to tackle it.
The new initiative is due to start from January 2024 and Ealing’s bid for the funding involved community engagement across Ealing’s voluntary and community groups.
Community partners involved with the project include Golden Opportunities for Skills and Development, Ealing and Hounslow Community and Voluntary Service (EHCVS), and Southall Community Alliance.
Professor Brian Ferguson, director of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme said: “Continued HDRC innovation will boost partnerships between local government and the academic sector, enabling local authorities to make better evidence-informed decisions – critical given the current pressures on funding. We expect the HDRC areas to engage actively with their local communities to listen to people’s views and involve them appropriately in shaping and undertaking research.”
Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council said: “We are delighted that the work we have done so far on building a culture of learning at the council, and on bringing our communities into decision-making, has been recognised by the NIHR panel. We are really looking forward to getting stuck into this project and building our capacity for meaningful research that will help us change the lives of Ealing residents for the better.”
Councillor Josh Blacker, the council’s cabinet member for healthy lives added: “The conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age impact our health. Creating a society where everyone can thrive needs all the right building blocks in place: good education, quality housing, stable jobs, and good pay. But for too many of our communities, blocks are missing or are inadequate, and we need to learn how to fix the gaps.
“The council is already tackling these inequalities through commitments in our council plan, our health and wellbeing strategy, ‘Together in Ealing,’ and our response to Ealing’s independent Race Equality Commission. This funding will build on our momentum for change. By changing our capacity to learn and improve, it will help us to better understand the health issues local people face, which in turn will inform positive actions across all areas of life in Ealing.”
Gurpreet Rana, chief executive officer, EHCVS said: “This opportunity will enhance research skills in the sector, support research development in active community settings, and develop strong and trusting relationships between voluntary, charity, and faith sector organisations and academic partners. The project will enable communities to shape where they live.”
The council’s research academia partners are the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London and the Institute of Development Studies.
Professor Matt Egan from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: “This is an important opportunity to work with Ealing and its communities, as well as incredible partners from other universities. By working together, we can learn more about creating building blocks for better health across Ealing and beyond.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “Everyone should have access to high quality health and social care services, no matter who you are or where you live. From Cornwall to Cumberland, these local projects, backed by £55 million in Government funding through the NIHR, will help ensure that vital research funding reaches our rural and coastal communities.”