Successful Chichester wellbeing programme extended

Cabinet members heard that more than half of Chichester residents are classed as overweight
Cabinet members heard that more than half of Chichester residents are classed as overweight

More than half of the people in Chichester are overweight, the district council has been told.

The figure, which surprised some councillors, was part of a report considered by the cabinet as they agreed to extend Chichester’s successful three-year wellbeing partnership with the county council.

The councils have worked together since 2016, giving support and advice to adults in an effort to reduce the risk of cardiovascular cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The contract ends at the end of the month and members were keen to take up the offer of continuing the programme until 2021/22.

In 2019/20, the district will receive £257,969 of funding from the county, though details of how exactly it should be spent are yet to be finalised.

The district will pay £30,000 from the base budget to cover the support and management side of things.

Eileen Lintill, CDC’s cabinet member for community services, said: “The wellbeing team has worked very successfully over the last three years and have many stories of how they have been able to help people.”

The levels of help offered have certainly been impressive.

Since 2016 3,755 people have been supported. There were 232 GP referrals last year, 533 people benefited from the weight loss programme, 47 business improved the health and wellbeing of their staff, 229 older people attended the well-balanced falls prevention workshop, and 331 people joined the pre-diabetes programme.

Members were told the wellbeing hub, which is based at Westgate Leisure Centre, was ‘a very busy service that achieves an awful lot’.

Leader Tony Dignum described the three-year extension as ‘thoroughly good news’.

But he queried the 58.5 per cent figure for Chichester residents being overweight, saying: “That’s not been my experience.”

Mr Dignum was advised that the way of measuring the issue was ‘quite tight’ and it did not take a lot to be considered overweight – slim people on the short side might be considered borderline.

A report to the cabinet said the wellbeing team would run 12 weight management programmes, each over 13 weeks, at venues in Chichester, Selsey and Midhurst.

There would also be weekly drop-in sessions at Westgate where people who had completed the weight management course could take part in a weigh-in and have their progress monitored.