The Western Investing for Health (WIFH) Partnership, established in 2002, celebrated 10 years of successfully tackling inequalities and promoting good health and emotional wellbeing at a special event today (6 September). The celebrations also provided an opportunity to look forward to a significant and productive future in the North West.
Guests at the Alley Theatre, Strabane, were joined by the Chair of the Public Health Agency (PHA) and representatives from the Department of Health, Social services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), WIFH programme recipients and partnership members, past and present, from the statutory, community and private sectors.
Speaking about the importance of the WIFH partnership, Mary McMahon, Chair, PHA, said: “The PHA has a leading role in tackling health inequality and promoting good health and wellbeing. We do this in partnership with many organisations and, as current co-chair, have continued the work of our predecessors in the Western Investing for Health Partnership, since its inception long before the PHA existed.
“The WIFH Partnership has been a leading light in the west, challenging the damage that smoking causes to bar staff, well ahead of the ban on smoking in public places, and initiating the very successful MARA project to maximise access to support for rural people.
“Looking forward I know the Partnership will go from strength to strength, embracing new challenges such as those emanating from the new Public Health frameworks, the 2013 City of Culture, green gym/allotment projects and active travel initiatives, for example. I would like to congratulate everyone on the work to date and look forward to a positive future of collaboration for health and wellbeing improvement.”
The celebration included presentations from the DHSSPS; statutory, community and private sector; WIFH Partnership members; Strabane District Council and from funded programmes including the Student Media Awards and local allotment projects.
Speaking before the event Health Minister Edwin Poots congratulated the WIFH partnership on its work over the last decade.
He said: “This partnership is an excellent example of what can be achieved when people get involved at every level, working together towards a shared goal and making a real difference.”
The Minister said that since its formation the WIFH Partnership has carried out a number of major health initiatives including research into the impact of smoking; development of a project to tackle obesity and a project to improve the health of rural dwellers.
Mr Poots continued: “The key to these successes is partnership. Working closely for the benefit of the local people is the golden thread that holds this partnership together. But let’s make no mistake: to maintain this success requires a sustained effort.”
Celebrations ended with local group, Singtonicity encouraging guests to relax for improved emotional wellbeing, through singing.
WIFH current co-chairs, Linda Watson, community sector, and Brendan Bonner, PHA, acknowledged the leadership of the many previous chairs. Brendan said: “We have had eight excellent co-chairs in the past, who have guided this partnership from its inception through many changes, to the success that we celebrate today. We are committed to building on this foundation, ensuring continued development to address the growing challenges we can expect over the next 10 years.”
For further media information contact PHA Communications on (028) 9055 3663.
Members of the Western Investing for Health (WIFH) Partnership, pictured at their recent 10th Anniversary celebrations in Strabane, with special guest Dr Naresh Chad, Senior Medical Officer, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (centre front, L-R) and Brendan Bonner, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (West), Public Health Agency (PHA) and current Co-Chair of WIFH; Tony Doherty, Bogside Brandywell Health Forum and community and voluntary representative and Mary McMahon, Chair, PHA.
Notes to the editor
- The WIFH Partnership has 30 intersectoral members: 17 statutory bodies, 11 community and voluntary sector organisations and two from the private sector.
- The Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Team is located at Gransha Park House, 15 Gransha Park, L’Derry.