This week saw the launch of a new health and well-being project currently being rolled out by Connected Health in the Southern Health & Social Care Trust area. The project is called ‘CoH-Sync’ which is short for Community Health Synchronisation.

CoH-Sync is a cross border, European Union INTERREG VA funded project and is now available to anyone aged 18 years and over who wants to begin their journey to getting healthier but doesn’t know where to start.  Whether it is help to quit smoking, adopt healthier eating habits, make new connections in your community or just generally feel better about life, CoH-Sync can help.

EU INTERREG VA grant funding totalling €5.01 million was secured for the CoH-Sync project by the cross border health services partnership, Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) to deliver the project in border areas of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Western Scotland. This EU funding was awarded by the Special EU Programmes Body and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, as one of the CAWT partner organisations, was successful in securing a Health and Wellbeing Hub for their area. Additional match-funding has been provided by the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

A competitive tendering process resulted in Connected Health being awarded the contract to develop a CoH-Sync Health and Well-being Hub in the Armagh and Dungannon area. This Hub is facilitating people to improve their health and well-being in areas such as physical activity, mental health, nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Commenting on Connected Health’s success in securing the CoH-Sync Hub contract valued at £350,980, Douglas Adams, CEO of Connected Health said: “We are delighted to be delivering this new project within the Dungannon and Armagh area. We are working hard to deliver the CoH-Sync service to ensure it is accessible in as many areas and to as wide a range of people as possible.” He added: “I would encourage everyone to sign up to an initial consultation with one of our CoH-Sync Health Facilitators, who take the time to listen to you and work with you to create a plan based on your needs. It is a free service and could open the way to new activities and networks in your area. We are receiving positive feedback from those people who have benefitted from our services”

Some feedback from people who have availed of the CoH-Sync service demonstrates the impact of the project: Client S. who has been working with the team said: “I spend long hours in the house on my own and had nobody to pal about with. Thankfully Connected Health got me in contact with Youth Action who have provided a support worker and got me involved in an angling group, supplying me with equipment and permits, so I will be able to get out and about more and also meet people of similar interest.”

One of the Community group leaders engaged by the team said: “A big thank you to the Connected Health team for time spent with us today. (The) ladies really enjoyed your time with us and hopefully will benefit from it. Personally I’ve been encouraged to do bit more exercise.”

Client E who has spent time receiving support from the Connected Health team told us: “My sister and I both live in supported accommodation, and had become withdrawn and isolated. After our talk with the Health Facilitator, we were signposted to chair aerobics and a newspaper morning, both ran in our local library. It has given us an opportunity to mix and meet new people. It has made a positive change to our lives.”

Speaking at the launch on behalf of the Southern Trust and the CAWT Partnership, CEO, Shane Devlin said: “It is fantastic that this CAWT EU funded CoH-Sync health and wellbeing hub is now up and running in the Southern Trust area. The focus for the hub is to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and circulatory related or respiratory illness happening in the first place. This project is about enabling people to improve their health and general well-being within a supportive community-based environment, thereby preventing or reducing the likelihood of developing a chronic disease.” He added: “I wish to congratulate Connected Health for their success in securing the contract for a CoH-Sync Hub. The Trust looks forward to further developing this valuable partnership approach and we wish them every success as the project is rolled out to local communities.”

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body congratulated all involved, saying: “Our ever-growing and aging population is placing an increasing demand on an already stretched healthcare system. Projects such as this will empower citizens, on both sides of the border, to manage their own health needs so that they can be fitter and healthier for longer. It is one of the core objectives of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme which funds projects that support more joined-up, cost effective and efficient cross-border healthcare delivery.” She continued: “This preventative approach to personal health will pay real dividends for the future of our health and social care services,”

If you want to take that first step to leading a healthier life then the CoH-Sync service could be for you.For more information on the CoH-Sync project locally or to find out how you can book the services of a Health Facilitator contact: Sinead Donnelly, E: [email protected] T: 07778432972