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"Shaping Places for Well-being in Wales" Programme Aims to Tackle Health Inequalities

Published: 14 March 2024

In a concerted effort to address health inequalities and enhance well-being across Wales, the "Shaping Places for Well-being in Wales" programme has been announced.  

Spearheaded by Public Health Wales, this Health Foundation funded initiative seeks to support Public Services Boards (PSBs) to influence social, economic and environmental factors– the building blocks of health and well-being, through taking a theory and evidence informed systems approach. 

The programme seeks to support efforts to reduce health inequalities, contribute to the evidence base on the implementation of systems-based approaches, and facilitate sharing of learning across different PSBs in Wales. 

The programme will focus on three themes with commonality across Well-being Plans: climate and nature emergency, poverty and inequalities and neighbourhood well-being. For each theme a learning group will be established and participants will be guided through systems thinking tools, methods and ways of working, with the aim of integrating the learning into the work of PSBs and informing the delivery of Well-being Plans. 

Explaining the rationale behind the initiative Jim McManus, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health Wales said: “Public health in collaboration with partners have a crucial role in influencing the building blocks of good health. By taking a systems approach we can help PSBs make a difference to the complex challenges which affect the health and well-being of the population of Wales” 

The development of the programme was a collaborative effort involving Executive Directors of Public Health in Health Boards and their teams with representatives from PSBs, Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner’s Office. A Health Foundation-funded Design Phase provided valuable insights, including the need for engaged leadership, time to build trusted relations, and a clear narrative on systems-based approaches. 

Expressions of interest to join the programme are being sought from PSB members and technical staff and the learning groups established in June 2024. 

The introduction of the "Shaping Places for Well-being in Wales" programme marks a significant step towards fostering innovation in addressing health disparities and promoting well-being across communities in Wales.