At the Bromley by Bow Centre, we are struck by the almost daily news reports of growing ill health, expansion of food banks or legions of people needing warmth and human connection.

There was coverage on Wednesday 26th April about audits into warm spaces that indicate loneliness is one of the key drivers of attendance.

On Thursday 27th April a report was published from the Institute for Public Policy Research on how long-term sickness is costing the UK economy £43bn per year and significantly cutting personal incomes.

Then there are shocking statistics from the Trussell Trust that emergency food parcel demand is at a record high.

These are not new problems but they are growing and compounding: Economic challenges, widening inequalities and ill-advised policy decisions which has seen the UK under invest in preventative health for years.  This is all now coming home to roost in a perfect storm of hardship and ill health for so many and affecting the country’s future prospects for growth and prosperity.

The answers exist – in local communities

At the Bromley by Bow Centre we will soon celebrate 40 years of working with the local community to develop and implement an integrated approach to health and wellbeing in an area of East London with deep-seated economic and social challenges.  Our broad range of services are based on a distinctive model that combines social entrepreneurship, advice, learning, social support, the arts, horticulture and holistic and integrated health programmes.

We know it works and we see it through so many lives transformed and the potential of local people unleashed.  The answers already exist by linking community service provision and health services together.

Now that ill-health is significantly affecting the economy, might this wake-up call herald political change? There are no quick fixes for entrenched problems but sustainable local investment would go a long way towards developing healthy communities at grass roots level and returning the nation to health for the long term.

Visitors are always welcome to come and see for themselves – drop in or contact us

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