NHS England is to build on work with housing developers and councils across the country as part of a scheme to expand the number of affordable homes available.
This month, it will be inviting applications for housing developers and associations to join a national network that will seek to improve the health of the nation by applying the lessons from the first Healthy New Towns schemes – which saw 10 sites taking part in the pilot.
Ultimately, the framework will see organisations work together to prioritise healthy living schemes in new housing developments ‘above and beyond current practice’.
It will also allow partners to test new ideas, such as fitness adventure trails and tech-enabled homes to help elderly residents.
The programme was first launched in 2016 in partnership with Public Health England to explore innovative ways to tackle the biggest health and care challenges of the 21st century such as obesity, dementia and social isolation.
At the time, the LGA applauded the decision saying it would give councils the opportunity to ‘radically reshape health and care services’ by testing what could be achieved with fewer constraints.
Since its launch, the project has enjoyed unprecedented popularity, attracting bids from across the globe – particularly helpful considering the government’s goal of building 300,000 homes a year in the UK..
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes at NHS England, said: “The Healthy New Towns programme has proved more popular than anyone could have predicted, uniting the NHS, housebuilders and local councils behind the goal of making us healthier and happier as a nation.
“Currently the demand to be part of the programme is outstripping supply so as the NHS turns 70, we are launching a new network of partners to ensure the great work done so far can have an even greater impact across the country and for years to come.”