Led from the Westlakes Campus, this research is investigating how governance for health and wellbeing works in coastal communities – and how it might work better. We are examining the structure and functioning of Healthy Town initiatives in Cumbria in order to gain insights to enable the construction of a general model for Healthy Coastal Communities.
Coastal communities in the UK are among the worst off for measures including earnings, employment, education and health. While not all coastal communities are the same, these areas are more likely than non-coastal communities to suffer from higher than average social, economic and health problems. Coastal communities also face issues including outward migration of young people, ageing populations, transitory populations, low quality housing and geographical isolation. These conditions are associated with poorer public health profiles, particularly for mental health. Since the health problems associated with coastal communities are linked with factors affected by many different policy areas (the wider determinants of health), it is necessary for this research to take an integrated approach, spanning policy areas and traditional academic disciplines.