Published: 3 February 2022
A new Health and Wellbeing Hub co-designed with the community in Wonford would help break down health inequalities, boost activity and improve quality of life, a new report has highlighted.
The City Council’s Executive is seeking approval to progress to the next stage of the Wonford Health and Wellbeing Hub project, including further detailed feasibility towards full planning consent for the redevelopment of the existing Wonford Community and Sports Centre facilities.
It is recommended that councillors approve the provision of £750,000 funding to progress to the next work stage and invite residents and community groups to be involved in the co-design of the proposed redevelopment.
The Wonford Health & Wellbeing hub programme of community engagement, initial vision and design is part of the Sport England funded Local Delivery Pilot programme Live and Move, hosted by Exeter City Council.
The aspiration is to support more people to be active every day, with Wonford being a particular area of priority to help improve the health and wellbeing of the local community.
Approval would directly contribute to three key Council corporate strategic priorities:
- Building great neighbourhoods
- Promoting active and healthy lifestyles
- A Net Zero Carbon City
The report highlights the fact that Wonford is the most deprived ward in the city and has some of the city’s highest areas of physical inactivity and poorest health outcomes.
Wonford is a future nominated site for regeneration and development within the Liveable Exeter housing programme.
The principles of Liveable Exeter are visible through the commitment to put health and wellbeing at the centre of Wonford, through a community-led vision and investment into a redeveloped health and wellbeing hub, the report says.
The focus of the investment is improving the health and wellbeing of local communities and residents, and prioritising those areas of the city with the largest inequalities and poorest health outcomes.
Cllr Duncan Wood, Lead Councillor for Leisure and Physical Activity, said: “As a Council we’ve always said that we want to put health and wellbeing at the heart of everything we do in Exeter.
“Our Live and Move team have been working with the community in Wonford on these plans for a Health and Wellbeing hub, which will improve health outcomes and help boost physical activity, and I am delighted that we are now ready to progress these plans further with the continued support of the community.”
Engagement with the local community has highlighted a vision that includes:
- The development of a hub that brings the community together and improves the health and wellbeing of local residents
- Opening the facility outwards to the community rather than the current intimidating building outlook
- Connecting the facility to Wonford Playing Fields, the Ludwell Valley Park and the wider city Green Circle cycle and walking route
- A list of activities and multi-use facilities that deliver the outcomes prioritised in the initial co-design phase
- The development towards a local hub for leisure and wellbeing activities led by the local community, rather than a sports centre for those living outside Wonford.
The Live and Move programme initially identified Wonford as a key priority to focus resources and programme delivery to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents through increasing physical activity.
Initial engagement identified the existing sports centre and community facilities are not well used by the local community, not connected the local green space and perceived as a traditional sports centre meeting the needs of people living outside of Wonford.
A two year programme of engagement resulted in:
- Identifying a local vision for health and wellbeing called What Wonford Wants
- Co-designed outcomes, activities and facilities that deliver improved community wellbeing through a redeveloped Wonford Health & Wellbeing Hub at the existing site of the Wonford Community and Sports Centres
- Developing a series of options on the future design and improvements to the existing buildings and facilities
- Highlighting the need for the facility to connect with the outdoor space and further enhance and integrate outdoor activity facilities connected to the hub
- Establishing the need for greater partnership working between the local GP practice Wonford Green Surgery and local community assets
- Prioritising improving facilities for sustainable travel to the site, so walking and cycling become the main modes of transport for residents using the hub. This includes connection to the Green Circle, running alongside the existing building and playing fields
Further community engagement will now take place with community groups, organisations and residents to help shape the facility in the early design stages and through concept design to the submission of a planning application.
Investigations and surveys of the existing buildings, site area and local infrastructure, including structural surveys, ground investigations, utilities surveys and highways assessments will take place to help inform the development of the design.
The full report, which will be discussed by members of the Council’s Executive on Tuesday, is available to read on the Council’s website