A WELLBEING scheme has been hailed a huge success on its sixth anniversary after helping 14,000 people since its launch in 2015.

North Yorkshire County Council launched its Living Well initiative soon after local authorities took on extended responsibilities for public health.

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It uses a system of using locally based co-ordinators to steer people needing assistance towards the organisations and services which could help.

The previously untried idea proved a success and in the years that followed the scheme itself has evolved and expanded, with increasing numbers of North Yorkshire residents benefitting from the support and expertise it is able to offer.

As its sixth birthday passes this month, its success is being celebrated with local events to promote it, as well as an event to bring the team of co-ordinators together with people who have supported the team since the beginning.

One of the thousands to have benefitted from the scheme is Kev Ward of Northallerton who needed rehabilitation after suffering a stroke.

He was given assistance by a Living Well co-ordinator who suggested Northallerton’s Secret Garden could be helpful.

He said: “I have been a keen amateur potterer in the garden for a long time, so it was something I was keen to volunteer for.

"I’ve found it is really good for me, I have to walk there, so that is a good thing and it is a really friendly group.

“I think everyone works together really well and it is a tight little group. The garden is an excellent community resource for people to drop in and get off the High Street."

Cath Simms, North Yorkshire’s Head of Prevention Services, said: “Living Well was set up to work with people early – to help improve their health, well-being and independence and help them to be as resilient as possible. The aim was to work with them as individuals and focus on what was important to them.

“One of the major problems Living Well was intended to tackle was loneliness and social isolation, so we help connect people to activities and groups in their communities, from small ‘knit and natter’ groups to larger and more formal social organisations.

"It has been found that long-term loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“We know that people have become at risk of greater isolation due to the pandemic and we will continue helping even more people to connect with their families and social groups, using digital technology.”

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North Yorkshire County Councillor Andrew Lee, executive member for Public Health, said: “Living Well was a new way of helping people when it was introduced in 2015 and it has fulfilled all the expectations the council had of it.

“From the beginning, the service has grown in size and evolved in some areas, with its value being proved countless times over the years.

“A crucial part of that success is the team of co-ordinators, who bring a wide range of skills and experience to their role, as well as the personal commitment which has helped make Living Well provide such an effective service.”

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