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Source: Auckland Council

It has been three years since the Healthy Environment Approach (HEA) was implemented into the community grants process for south Auckland community-led events, and the initiative continues to grow.

Last year, more than 300 community grants were approved for south Auckland community-led events that met HEA principles. The HEA initiative has also now expanded into other funding areas in 2020/2021, including sports and recreation, arts and culture as well as non-community-led events.

The approach, from The Southern Initiative and Healthy Families South Auckland, has been adopted and supported by all four south Auckland local boards since 2018.

It involves four principles that are designed to make council-supported operations more consistent in their community health response.

The four principles are:

  • Wai/water is the easiest choice
  • Good kai for all
  • Champion smoke-free, alcohol-free and drug-free
  • Encourage movement.

Auckland Council Events facilitator Lucky Sialii says the HEA framework has helped in supporting the promotion of community health.

“We know that many of the groups which host community events in south Auckland are already keen to promote health and wellbeing. So it makes sense to use Healthy Environment principles as part of other funding processes to ensure we are continuing to support our communities in that area.”

Involved in the success of the implementation was the Community Grants team, which worked closely with The Southern Initiative and Healthy Families South Auckland to create a long-term plan for HEA after it was adopted by the local boards.

“The local boards provided us an opportunity to incorporate these principles into the community grant application process which not only ensured that HEA is sustainable and event organisers are accountable, but also provided local boards with the opportunity to measure health and wellbeing outcomes,” says Grants and Incentives Manager Marion Davies.

Healthy Families South Auckland Manager George Makapatama says the Healthy Environment principles have shown how small shifts in a process can lead to bigger changes.

“The goal for Healthy Families South Auckland is that all South Aucklanders enjoy good health and wellbeing, enabled by cultural, social and physical environments.

“The Healthy Environment Approach is doing just that. It is about embedding simple changes in order to create more sustainable and long-term changes to these systems which influence the health and wellbeing of families and communities.

“The type of systems change we are trying to make around health can be seen as complex, but the leadership approach shown by the local boards, grants and events team to enable such change is a true example of systems leadership.”

MIL OSI