‘Healthier Fleetwood’: Creating healthier communities via improved social networking in a disadvantaged area of the UK


  • Mark Spencer The Mountainview Practice, Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre, Dock St, Fleetwood, UK




Noncommunicable diseases, lifestyle intervention, social networking


Reducing the prevalence of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases is an urgent clinical priority for the UK and other countries. Achieving improved social networking among isolated people with long-term health needs has been shown to build confidence and self-efficacy, leading to improved health and other outcomes, improved service delivery and to reduce healthcare costs. This article describes the ‘Healthier Fleetwood’ initiative which uses social networking to increase physical activity and improve diet, which are key to preventing the onset of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.


Lancashire County Council, Fylde coast health economy neighbourhood profiles. Fleetwood neighbourhood. http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/media/898094/fleetwood-neighbourhood.pdf

Strain WD, Cos X, Hirst M, et al. Time to do more: addressing clinical inertia in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2014;105:302-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2014.05.005

Fisher B, Lewith G, Falkenberg T, Jonas WB. Fostering health creation: community development to address long-term conditions. Glob Adv Health Med 2014;3:29-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2014.037

Minkler M, ed. Community Organizing and Community Building for Health. New Brunswick, NJ, USA: Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Morgan E, Swann C. Social capital for health: Issues of definition, measurement and links to health. London: Health Development Agency.

Bassuk S, Glass T, Berkman L. Social disengagement and incident cognitive decline in community-dwelling elderly persons. Ann Intern Med 1999;131: 165-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-131-3-199908030-00002

Fabrigoule C, Letenneur L, Dartigues J, et al. Social and leisure activities and risk of dementia: a prospective longitudinal study. J Am Geriatr Soc 1995;43:485-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1995.tb06093.x

Jenkins R, Meltzer H, Jones PB, et al; Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. Mental health: future challenges. Technical Report. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/32763

Bennett KM. Low level social engagement as a precursor of mortality among people in later life. Age Ageing 2000;31:165-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/31.3.165

Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS Med 2010;7:e1000316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

The North Lewisham Health Improvement Programme 2008/14. Evaluation Report (2008/12). http://www.lewishamjsna.org.uk/Reports/North_ Lewisham_Health_Improvement_Programme_Sep13.pdf

Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW, Earls F. Neighborhoods and violent crime: a multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science 1997;227:918-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.277.5328.918

Skogan W. Fear of crime and neighborhood change. Crime and Justice 1986;8:216-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/449123. http://www.skogan.org/files/Fear.of.Crime.and.Neighborhood.Change.1986.pdf

Sampson RJ, Groves WB. Community structure and crime: testing social-disorganization theory. Am J Sociol 1989;94:774-802. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2780858 https://doi.org/10.1086/229068

Clark P, Dawson SL. Jobs and the Urban Poor. Washington DC: Aspen Institute, 1995.

Coulter A. Engaging communities for health improvement. A scoping study for the Health Foundation, 2009. http://www.health.org.uk/publication/engaging-communities-health-improvement

Fulbright-Anderson K, Auspos P, eds. Community Change: Theories, Practice, and Evidence. Queenstown, MD, USA: Aspen Institute, 45. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/docs/rcc/COMMUNITYCHANGE-FINAL.PDF

Marmot M. Work and other factors influencing coronary health and sickness absence. Work Stress 1994;8:191-201. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02678379408259989

Daly G. LinkAge Plus: Benefits for older people. Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report No 554, 2009. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/186776/rrep554.pdf

Local Government Association. Benefits of investing in community empowerment. http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/past-event-presentations/-/journal_content/56/10180/3581896/ARTICLE

Local Government Group. Integrating community engagement and service delivery – pointers to good practice. September 2010. http://www. local.gov.uk/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=6dba73c3-09e2-4e96-869e-e9a760fc46ad&groupId=10180

Marmot M. Fair Society, Healthy Lives. Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010. The Marmot Review, February 2010, p 139. ISBN 978-0-9564870-0-1. http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/fair-society-healthy-lives-the-marmot-review

Bartley M, ed, on behalf of the ESRC Priority Network on Capability and Resilience, 2003–2007. Capability and resistance: beating the odds. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Project No RES-337-25-0001W. www.ucl.ac.uk/capabilityandresilience.

Wilkinson RG. The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier. Abington: Routledge, 2005.

Fisher B. Community development through health gain and service change – do it now! London J Prim Care 2014;6:154-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/17571472.2014.11494367

Fisher B, Chanan G. Social action for health gain: the potential of community development. Br J Gen Pract 2015;65:97-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.3399/bjgp15X683641

Nef Consulting. Catalysts for community action and investment: a social return on investment analysis of community development work based on a common outcomes framework. October 2010. http://www.cdf.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/SROI-Report-FINAL1.pdf

Reeves D, Blickem C, Vassilev I, et al. The contribution of social networks to the health and self-management of patients with long-term conditions: a longitudinal study. PLoS One 2014;9:e98340. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098340

Windle K, Wagland R, Forder J, D’Amico F, Janssen D, Wistow G, for the Personal Social Services Research Unit. The National Evaluation of Partnerships for Older People Projects: Executive Summary. http://www. pssru.ac.uk/pdf/rs053.pdf

The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). The business case for people powered health. April 2013. http://www. nesta.org.uk/publications/business-case-people-powered-health

YMCA. Y-Active Project. http://ymcayactive.org

Willow Garden Project. willowgardenproject.org.uk

Waugh N. Screen and intervene to prevent diabetes? BMJ 2017;356:i6800. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6800

Dunkley AJ, Bodicoat DH, Greaves CJ, et al. Diabetes prevention in the real world: effectiveness of pragmatic lifestyle interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and of the impact of adherence to guideline recommendations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2014; 37:922-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc13-2195

Spencer M. The doctor who wants to make his town better. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37338995






Current Topics