HARTCLIFFE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT ACTION GROUP (HHEAG) is based in an outer city housing estate in South Bristol, which is recognised as an area of multiple deprivation.
We have been active since 1990, following an Avon Health Authority initiated survey, asking residents about their views on living in the area and how it affected their health and well being. The subsequent report was presented to local people at a community meeting and from this was formed a steering group. HHEAG is now a registered charity and company limited by guarantee with a board of trustees drawn from local residents.
This committee steers the work of HHEAG by initiating action relating to emerging health and environmental needs that have been identified within our community. We use a Community Development approach in all our work; encouraging, supporting and helping local people develop the skills necessary to take an active part in their community and work together to bring about change.
Using this Community Development approach HHEAG has, over the years, developed a number of projects, some of which we have supported until they were ready to become independent, for example The Dundry Hill Group and Hartcliffe & Withywood Mental Health Forum. Other projects such as the Community Market Garden and Nutrition and Cooking projects continue to be a core part of our work.
We also give direct support to the Food for All co-operative (including shop, outreach stalls and resource centre) and the Hartcliffe and Withywood Amblers, who are part of the national “Walking 4 Health” movement.
Our mental health support work has, to some extent, now come full circle with Positive Minds (providing “support and advice to help adults reduce mental and emotional stress and the impact of the recession in your life”) recently merging with HHEAG.
Since the start of HHEAG we have worked in partnership with Bristol PCT (Public Health) and Bristol City Council (Community Investments, Allotments and Environment & Leisure Services). Through these partnerships we help these statutory bodies deliver community based services, which improve and enrich the lives of local people. We have also always worked closely with other community based voluntary sector organisations including Hartcliffe & Withywood Ventures, Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership, Pipa, HAWKS and WiSH.
We believe that HHEAG offers a holistic and sustainable approach to making positive life changes through diet, exercise, guidance and support. In this way we have enabled many local people over the past 20 years to contribute to both a healthier personal life and stronger community.