Chelmsford UK Healthy City
As England’s newest city Chelmsford, the administrative centre of Essex, is a thriving and prosperous place. It has a population of 168,310 people (Census 2011), which is an increase of 7.2% since 2001. This is estimated to reach 192,000 by 2022. Chelmsford City is an affluent area, with high standards of education and a stable local workforce. Two of the country's top performing grammar schools are located in Chelmsford as well as the rapidly expanding Anglia Ruskin University. Shopping facilities are of the highest order (1.2 million square feet of shopping) and Chelmsford will soon be home to the first John Lewis in Essex.
Chelmsford is also a major technological and commercial centre, with excellent regional, national and international transport links. It is located within 30 minutes to London by train. There are nearly 12,000 businesses and a high number of new business start-ups. The City also boasts a vibrant and growing night time economy - the largest in Essex regularly reaching its licensing capacity of 15,000. However, despite its affluence, there are pockets of deprivation, which are masked when looking at health data on a city-wide or county basis. To find out more about Chelmsford, please see the following link.
Health & Wellbeing in Chelmsford
- Chelmsford is ranked 7th in the UK in terms of quality of life, according to the annual Halifax survey of 2012 - which makes us the best city in the UK.
- Chelmsford is relatively healthy and affluent, as compared to England’s average. However, there are some significant geographical health inequalities linked to deprivation.
- Alcohol intake is an emerging issue with Chelmsford having high rates of binge drinking (21.3% of adults) and adults with increasing and higher risk drinking (23.4%).
- Chelmsford has increasing excess weight and obesity amongst children particularly in areas of deprivation. The levels remain better than the England average, but are still of concern.
- Life expectancy for both men and women is higher than the England average.
- Over the last 10 years, all cause mortality rates have fallen. The early death rate from heart disease and stroke has fallen and is better than the England average.
- The rate of road injuries and deaths is worse than the England average.
- Rates of sexually transmitted infections, smoking related deaths and hospital stays for alcohol related harm are better than the England average.
- Key priorities in Chelmsford include tackling alcohol misuse, focussing support on the most deprived communities and further increasing levels of physical activity.
- Chelmsford is currently the UK’s only World Health Organisation accredited International Safe Community. The Safe Communities programme aims to reduce the socioeconomic inequality in injury and therefore health by accrediting communities that show a sustainable, collaborative, evidence based approach to providing a safe community.
- In April 2013 Chelmsford was accredited with the Purple Flag status recognising the arrangements for the night time economy in the city.
- Working with Mid-Essex CCG to fully exploit the contribution a district council can make to improve the health of residents. Early projects include a city centre triage on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce demand at Accident & Emergency, and exploring the possibility of combining data on benefit claimants, occupiers of property with category 1 hazards, and those at risk of frailty to enable targeted assistance to those of most need.
- Chelmsford was one of ten places nationally to be allocated £90,000 for a pilot scheme for reducing alcohol harm for 2013 and 2014 by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
- A reduction in street drinking complaints, 16.7% reduction in night-time economy related offending, a 3.7% reduction in all crime and a 12.9% reduction in antisocial behaviour in 2012, compared to 2011.
Chelmsford’s Healthy City Story
Chelmsford became a member of Healthy Cities Network in August 2013. We are now looking forward to continue making the improvements in health and wellbeing of our residents, learning from the network and sharing best practice.
Although we have been committed to reducing health inequalities and improving the health of our local communities for many years, we recognise that the Healthy Cities Network will assist us on that journey and further support us in becoming ‘Healthy Chelmsford.’
Future plans and activities
- Aligning our health priorities with the priorities of the Clinical Commissioning Group and other key stakeholders to produce effective health outcomes for residents.
- Strengthening joint working between public protection, community safety, CCTV, licensing, city centre management, parking and key partner organisations to deliver shared health objectives and a more efficient service resolving multiple issues simultaneously and reducing duplication.
- Developing a Food Flan for the City to help people get improved access to better quality food. Through working with local businesses, voluntary organisations and targeted education we will develop a three-year plan to raise awareness of and improve access to quality food sources.
Dr. Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, Chair of Mid-Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Being responsible for the health of individuals means sharing a responsibility for creating healthy communities. As Chair of Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, I’m delighted that Chelmsford has become part of the Network. The communities in Chelmsford reflect the same range of health inequalities as other urban centres, however, as one of the UK’s newest cities we have an opportunity to reduce their impacts and determine approaches that combine the best efforts of health and well-being to contribute to a healthier City.”