Life Expectancy Wirral - Overview
Life Expectancy Wirral (LEW) was developed by the Church of England Diocese of Chester in response to the fact that people on the Mersey side of the Wirral die, on average, nearly 12 years younger than those living on the Dee side.
A Letter from +Keith
Life Expectancy Wirral
The Diocese of Chester’s initiative, Life Expectancy Wirral, as you know it, will cease in January 2016, to align the current work with the Diocese’s other initiative, Transforming Lives Together (TLT). Lessons learnt from Life Expectancy Wirral will be invaluable as TLT develops work on tackling poverty across the whole of the Diocese.
TLT is a joint venture between the Church Urban Fund and Diocese of Chester with a vision to tackle poverty across the Diocese. We have come to the realisation that as both initiatives are about tacking poverty and inequalities, we should do some ‘joined up’ thinking! This is an opportune and exciting time to build on the excellent work over the past 7 years and to share the learning, tools and resources from the Life Expectancy Wirral experience across the Diocese.
TLT have appointed two part time staff, ‘Community Builders’, for each archdeaconry in the diocese and they will work to bring people from local areas together in ‘cluster groups’ to tackle issues of poverty. We are really pleased that some members of the Life Expectancy Steering Group have expressed a willingness to provide continuity on a new cluster group for the Wirral. This includes Chris Allen (formerly Chief Executive Officer of Forum Housing) who has also recently become Chair of TLT. Kath Leigh is the Lead Community Builder and will cover the Macclesfield Archdeaconry and you will be pleased to hear that Wendy Robertson, the Life Expectancy Wirral Project Co-ordinator, who has been instrumental in supporting and networking churches to tackle the gap in life expectancy has been appointed as the ‘Community Builder’ for Chester Archdeaconry, which covers the Wirral.
We thank God for the work of Life Expectancy Wirral over the past 6 years. We look forward to the many opportunities that this new and exciting development presents to us to work as the Body of Christ in partnership and fellowship one with the other.
We will be in touch soon with more information and contact details for TLT staff. We are also working on a follow up event to develop the ‘Pledge’ and will be in contact with you shortly.
(The Pledge has been created by Wirral Churches to enable a more united and effective response to poverty.)
Meanwhile, can I encourage you to keep doing what you are doing – making a difference to the lives of people in our Wirral communities.
With every blessing to you at the start of this new year,
Churches Changing Lives and Communities Pledge
The Pledge has been created by Wirral Churches to enable a more uniformed and effective response to poverty. Turning the pledge into action will help churches to make a real difference to the lives of people in our local communities. Let's get going!
We currently have 10 churches participating in our pairing programme, 6 of whom have been working together for over 12 months. Feedback from the pairs is that they have a strong, committed relationship which offers mutual practical, spiritual and moral support. We have recently made a video of one of the pairing outcomes - a clothes Swap Shop. Please click here for more information. If your church is interested in taking part in pairing, details of what to do next can be found in our new Pairing leaflet.
Bishop Keith Says:
Now that LEW has ended we are keen to share the learning gained over the past 7 years. We want churches to be able to access all the resources created and to benefit from our experience of the following:
What are we trying to do?
Our aim is to: ‘enable Christian communities to respond to the issues surrounding the unacceptable differentiation in life expectancy on the Wirral’. We want to work in collaboration with other denominations, the public and voluntary sector to tackle inequality.
The history behind LEW
In 2009 a pilot brought together 2 churches from the two sides of the Wirral. Guided by a facilitator they worked through a 5 stage programme examining issues of poverty and life expectancy and linking these to the Bible. The programme is a mutually challenging experience that raises awareness and prepares churches for action. 8 Churches have been paired since the programme began and 4 more have joined in 2015. Read more.
‘I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.’ John 10:10
What next for LEW?
The Life Expectancy Wirral steering group has been developing the core roles and purposes of LEW in order to meet our aim, ‘To enable Christian communities to respond to the issues surrounding the unacceptable differentiation in life expectancy on the Wirral’. These include:
- Raising awareness of poverty and life expectancy on the Wirral e.g. adapting our materials so that they can be used by all churches
- Hosting events to bring people together, disseminate information and encourage partnerships
- Continuing with the pairing programme, building on it and improving it
- Acting as an information/guidance/support hub for churches wanting to get involved in social action and tackling issues affecting life expectancy.
- Turning the Pledge into action- we will support the Wirral wide commitment by all churches to tackle the issues affecting life expectancy in the form of the Pledge. See green box above for more information.
- Disseminating LEW learning and resources across the Diocese of Chester.
- Continuing to support local initiatives such as Financial Inculsion and Places of Welcome.
'Through all the above, we want to see the spiritual and social transformation of Wirral'.
External Evaluation of LEW
In 2013 an external evaluation of LEW was carried out by the Applied Health and Wellbeing partnership (Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University). This evaluation aimed to explore the health and wellbeing changes brought about as a direct result of engagement with Life Expectancy Wirral. A social return on investment analysis (SROI) was used to determine the impact and social value created by these changes and the health and wellbeing implications for all involved
We have developed the following resources to support you in tackling the issues affecting poverty and inequality.
- Introduction to all resources- Read this first for an explanation of all the resources below.
- The Fathers Daughters: Story, Discussion Sheet, Bible Verses
- Photography Session
- Poverty Quiz
- Bible verses on wealth
- Background information on statistics
- Language and nature of poverty discussion document
Resources on Bible Studies
- Information about Bible Studies
- Introduction and connect
- Be Active
- Take Notice
- Keep learning
- Give and Conclusion
Other useful resources
- 'A glass half-full' (Improvement and Development Agency)
- 'Fair society, health lives' (The Marmot Review)
The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty (Joint Public Issues Team)
- Poverty in your parish - The Church Urban Fund has developed a resource which provides parish-level data on poverty-related indicators. This gives a general picture of levels of poverty in different parishes and allows for easy comparison with other parishes. Click here.
- Wirral Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)
- Wirral JSNA Bulletins - to subscribe, email SubscribeJSNA@wirral.nhs.uk
How can you get involved?
Are you interested in taking part in a pairing or being a facilitator? Would you like a member of the LEW team to come to your church group and help them to work through the ‘Language and Nature of Poverty’ document? If so, please email Wendy Robertson
Swap shop Leasow. For more informaton click here
What LEW means:
How LEW has impacted people's lives
What else is happening locally?
Information on what else is happening locally within the statutory, voluntary and faith sectors.
Wirral Well is a one stop shop, online information resource for wellbeing, health and social care services in Wirral. Whether you want information for your own wellbeing or are looking for services to help others this is the site for you.
Find out what churches are doing together in your area.