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.
‘I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.’ John 10:10
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. 4 churches were ‘paired’ last year and others are keen to engage. Read more.
Event: ‘Together for Life –how churches can and do make a difference to poverty on the Wirral’
We held an event on Saturday February 9th from 9-12 at the Life Church in Bebington - for all Wirral Churches. The purpose of the event was to:
- Alert us to the facts and figures about poverty on the Wirral — John Highton (NHS Wirral)
- Provide information on the effects of the changes in Benefits to people’s lives
- Hear from churches already engaged in social action and the impact of this on their church and community
- Consider and reflect upon what the Bible has to say about the Christian response to poverty (Bishop keith Sinclair)
- Learn more about what faith based organisations are doing to tackle poverty and to encourage greater support of them from churches (including displays)
Funding to pilot Green Space Champions Scheme
Our bid to the Public Health Innovation Fund was successful. The money will allow a half time worker to develop some of the recommendations made in the Green Space report written last year. The report investigated how to enable those living in poverty to increase their use of urban and non-urban green space. It has been proven that spending time in green space can:
- Contribute to the prevention of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers and osteoporosis
- Improve mental health and well-being and reduce anxiety and depression
- Promote healing and recovery after an accident or illness
- Help children to develop intellectually and learn about social interaction
Physical and mental health issues have been proven to be more prevalent in those living in poverty and research from Liverpool JMU identified that the poorest are more likely to benefit (in health terms) from access to green space and yet they are the lowest users.
The funding is for 12 months and the work will be piloted in the Birkenhead West Float area (around Laird Street). The aim is to increase mental and physical wellbeing of those living in poverty by encouraging and enabling access to green space. Green Space Champions will be trained volunteers. The scheme will be developed by a working group consisting of professionals and volunteers from local communities.
More information about how you can get involved - click here.
(For information on previous years - Click here)
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.
- Delivering and developing ‘ Green Spaces’ work
- Understanding the language and nature of poverty
- 'A glass half-full' (Improvement and Development Agency)
- 'Fair society, health lives' (The Marmot Review)
- 'Healthy Lives, Healthy People' (Department of Health)
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
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. More info