Community support

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Neighbourhood Health Watch (NHHW) is a new voluntary project building on the highly successful Neighbourhood Watch approach. Neighbourhood Health Watch brings together the NHS, Police, Fire & Rescue and the Voluntary Sector to enable communities to work together to support one another’s health and wellbeing needs. Neighbourhood Health Watch has enabled statutory sectors to access and support vulnerable, isolated people and has provided police and ambulance services with alternatives to keep care at home.

Neighbourhood Health Watch aims to increase community health and wellbeing resilience and reduce loneliness and isolation by promoting public involvement and widening awareness of help beyond the statutory sector.

Neighbours prepared to help each other secure their properties because of police involvement in Neighbourhood Watch, proved equally able to share skills and resources to promote each other’s health and well-being when supported by general practice, the police and fire service in Neighbourhood Health Watch.

The key to Neighbourhood Health Watch is the relationship between the police, usually through a community support officer, local fire prevention officer and the general practitioner or member of the practice team. Together they can add a sense of security and permission to both the health and well-being conversation and the work that emerges at community level in its support.

Neighbourhood Health Watch has enabled other statutory sectors to access and support vulnerable, isolated people. It has provided police and ambulance services with alternatives to keep care at home. The Fire and Rescue service can promote fire prevention to those most at risk.

Neighbourhood Health Watches show every sign of helping to reduce 999 calls and offering alternative support in the pre-hospital care pathway.

Neighbourhood Health Watch does not seek to replace existing voluntary activity. Rather it seeks to promote and connect what is already there.

Neighbourhood Health Watch can in theory work for any community where there are motivated activists, a base, engaged police and fire officers, and general practice and work to be done. In practice we have focused on the elderly, the very elderly and particularly the needs of lonely, isolated and vulnerable people. The model has proved accessible, easy to engage with and useful. It spreads with the minimum of facilitation and support. Participation in good neighbourliness as part of a Neighbourhood Health Watch also appears to be encouraging more formal volunteering.

The project is managed by Westbank Community Health & Care, a charity based in Exeter and has received partial funding from Devon Partnership NHS Trust, NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue to continue the project until at least March 2016.

Project Video

Westbank Community Health and Care

Moment of Pride

The project brings communities together. It promotes good old fashioned values of people caring for one another & being a good neighbour, while helping to combat loneliness & isolation. People feel supported by their community and safer knowing there is help available when they need it.

Location: Devon, United Kingdom