What does it mean for a neighbourhood when health and housing are truly integrated? Our Health & Housing Impact Network visited Haringey’s High Road West scheme in Tottenham to find out about a whole place approach.
With input from Catherine Max
Our key takeaways
- Develop personal connections – The integration of health and housing policies and action in Tottenham is driven by the commitment and enthusiasm of those delivering.
- Involve health early – Public Health colleagues helped set the brief for regeneration here, so improving health of local residents runs through all the projects.
- Secure political support – The strategic ambition to better integrate health and housing is fostered here by political leadership.
- Take a whole-place approach – The long-term nature and investment of the High Road West project and the finance model at The Selby Centre mean that projects to support people’s health, wellbeing, skills and work needs can run alongside physical change in the neighbourhood.
- Work with residents – The knowledge and personal investment of local people and community groups is ensuring that facilities and services are designed and delivered in ways that genuinely meet their needs.
“With an integrated approach between teams, something special happens” Cllr Das Neves, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care & Wellbeing
The health and housing context in High Road West
Haringey is a “Borough of Two Halves” (Marlene D’Aguilar, Health in All Policies Strategic Lead). Life expectancy differs by seven years for females and eight years for males between the East and West. In the Northumberland Park area we visited, residents have poorer mental and physical health and are financially worse off than others in the borough. A resident survey found a lower than average sense of community connection and nearly half of respondents said they feel unsafe after dark. In addition, residents face issues with the condition of their homes and poor quality of outdoor spaces such as playgrounds.
High Road West is a mixed-use scheme, part of GLA’s Affordable Housing Programme. With the developer, Lendlease, the council will not only provide over 2500 new homes including more than 500 Council homes, but also:
- a new Library and Learning Centre
- 130,000 sqft of commercial and leisure space
- a new civic square
- enhanced community and green spaces
- £10m socio-economic programme including over 3,000 jobs.
Although the development itself is at an early stage, we heard directly from local resident Emine who has led resident input to the design of a play area which will provide facilities for older as well as younger children, on a “meanwhile” basis pending final build-out.
“One of the principle aims from the outset of the scheme has been to create a place that promotes best practice interventions in health through the diverse range of neighbourhood related interventions.” LB Haringey
Services rooted in the community
The Selby is a unique community centre providing a range of support to the local community and beyond. CEO Paul Butler and Operations Manager Claudette Barton explained its strong community-led ethos which emerged from a time of tension and mistrust to become an exemplar of positivity and partnership. Levelling up Funding for a £20m redevelopment means the organisation is gearing up for huge change, including a reconfigured site incorporating housing.
Not just another regeneration scheme
“We see health as an objective, as well as an indicator of regeneration” Matthew Maple, High Road West Lead, LB Haringey
What was clear throughout our visit, is that a special focus has been placed on ensuring health is integrated in plans and specific actions:
Cllr Das Neves, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Wellbeing, demonstrated the commitment to integrating health and housing at a political level in her opening welcome. It was encouraging to hear her say that although they’re proud of what they’ve achieved, they’re still learning.
Public health involvement from the outset
Public Health advised on the High Road West masterplan brief, embedding opportunities to maximise health for residents from the start. They have remained involved throughout, which the Council sees as crucial for securing health outcomes. The obvious camaraderie and ease between colleagues from different specialisms is testament to genuine collaboration.
Long-term, flexible funding and responsiveness
The Selby Centre and The High Road West scheme both benefit from flexible funding which can provide the targeted support and services that really make a difference to local people. In High Road West this comes from the socio-economic programme built into the masterplan. Examples include:
- A DJ Academy offering young people with a hobby or skills for a potential career.
- Translators at food bank sessions to help those who don’t speak English access other help they may need.
- A women’s exercise class set up following requests.
In all these cases, it’s not just the funding that achieves the outcomes, it’s the fact that The Selby and council alike are genuinely prepared to listen and be responsive to local needs.
To integrate health and housing – play the long game
At The Selby Centre, the Local Area Coordinator from LB Haringey reflected they “play the long game” – looking at what’s happening in the background for anyone they speak to, not just the immediate need they present with. This focus on being holistic and acting with compassion came across powerfully throughout this field trip: an approach we believe can and will truly make a difference to the health and lives of people here.
Huge thanks to the team at LB Haringey who hosted us so brilliantly.
You can view the slides from presentations on the day here.
We’ll use what we learnt on this field trip to feed into our overall recommendations on how to better integrate health and housing within the current system. The next event of the Health and Housing Impact Network will be early in 2024. Sign up to the mailing list to hear the latest!
The Health and Housing Impact Network is funded by Impact on Urban Health