Doncaster pit village residents to benefit from wellbeing scheme

Hatfield colliery, Stainforth.
Hatfield colliery, Stainforth.

Plans to transform a deprived Doncaster former pit village are set to be rolled out, health bosses have revealed.

Officials have confirmed that Stainforth, which until recently was the borough’s last remaining mining town, is to be targeted with a programme of measures which are intended to transform its residents health and wellbeing.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Assistant Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Assistant Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council.

It is the second area of the borough which health bosses say will be transformed by a scheme called Well North, which has previously worked to transform Denaby under the name Well Doncaster. Other areas will be targeted further into the future.

Dr David Crichton, chairman of the Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, writes in his column Key to good health is community activity “These are exciting times for Denaby and the lessons learned will be transferred to Stainforth, the next community in line to benefit from the Well Doncaster project.”

The work which is carried out in Stainforth is yet to be finalised, but officials say it will involve input from the community. They also expect to take the experience they have gained in Denaby to look at how they work in the former mining town.

“Well Doncaster is to act as a ‘lightening rod’ and a catalyst for action, encouraging people to reconnect with what keeps them healthy whether that’s volunteering, getting into work or unleashing their creative talents,” said Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health at Doncaster Council.

Dr David Crichton

Dr David Crichton

“In Denaby, the work to try to transform the area has included taking advantage of our natural assets and green space and build community pride; creating a culture of enterprise and resourcefulness; enhancing our assets with an active network of people, groups, services and buildings; celebrating the arts, culture and local heritage; creating local leadership; and ensuring services are there for people when they need them.

“This has involved developing a plan to make Denaby Crags a better used resource. It has also seen work to make the Grays Court shopping parade a safer and more inviting space.”

Bosses at Well North say that they believe everyone wants a comfortable home, a good job and a healthy life to enjoy with family and friends, but life isn’t always equal or fair.

Well North’s founder Aidan Halligan says people who feel they get a raw deal often lose health, happiness and hope, and the scheme recognises this.

A spokesman for Well North said: “He knew people and places could change for the better, and that it was important to see local people as the solution – not the problem. He also realised that doing things with rather than to people was a recipe for success.

“Creating better health and wellbeing is all about being part of a vibrant and connected community and living in a pleasant environment, rather than just quitting smoking or eating better - important though these are. It means tackling debt, lack of jobs and training, missed education opportunities, poor housing, and loneliness. Being creative, having fun and joining up the dots is key to success. Well North links people who share this vision and want to unleash the exciting potential within places and individuals. Our goal is to help transform neighbourhoods into dynamic communities where local people can live, work and thrive.”