Salford University partners with Greater Manchester organisation aiming to reduce health inequalities across the region

A new “active-academic partnership” between Salford University and GM Active aims to improve people’s well-being and reduce health inequalities.

Scholars from the university’s School of Health and Society will work with GM Active in a bid to encourage active and healthier lives.

Dr Kristen Hollands, a senior research fellow at the University of Salford, said: “Their pivot to active wellbeing is a desire to understand what it will take for them to be an integral partner alongside NHS Health and Social Care in supporting people to prevent and self-manage long term health conditions.”

GM Active works with a range of leisure and community partners across Greater Manchester to promote their ‘We Move as One’ strategy.

Dr Hollands attended the Greater Manchester (GM) Moving Conference at the Etihad Stadium on Friday, February 3, to learn from the various sessions and speakers in order to further support GM Active with their aims.

The day was split into a range of sessions, covering various topics from intersectional approaches to active lives for all, to taking a place-based approach to health.

“What I could see there is that there has been a tide change in how people are approaching the issues and how people are approaching the support that they provide,” said Dr Hollands.

“It’s much more of a relationship-centred, co-designed ethos which is fantastic from an academic perspective to see. It’s much more ‘tell me what matters to you, and I’ll meet you with some of the knowledge that might be helpful to you, and we’ll work together to help you figure out how we can help you to be as active as you want to be and can be’.”

The School of Health and Society are also researching health inequalities across Greater Manchester. Communities who have been affected by the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crises are more likely to find it difficult to continue to chose to be physically active.

“There will be many people who will suffer an increasing deterioration of health because of these crises that are going on,” said Dr Hollands.

The university team will work with GM Active to discover how they can target their services and support their workforces to partner more strongly alongside NHS and Social Care partners in reducing these health inequalities.

The partnership has launched a variety of pilot projects that are currently ongoing in a range of localities across Greater Manchester. These projects aim to push the knowledge into action and discover what works well and how successful initiatives can be replicated and adapted to fit in other communities.

One ongoing partnership project is looking into diabetes specialist services and whether their patients have better health and wellbeing outcomes when they are supported both by community services as well as the NHS.

“It’s all very new and up and coming, but it it’s really super exciting stuff. So I can’t wait to actually be doing some really applied research,” said Dr Hollands.

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