Empowering communities to improve health and wellbeing

On this page, we list some of the projects and services which have been set up in the Healthy Hastings and Rother area to empower local communities to improve their health and wellbeing.

To read more about our other programme objectives, click on the links below:

HHR health and wellbeing hubs

Health and Wellbeing Community Hubs

A health and wellbeing community hub hosts services that help individuals and communities improve their health and wellbeing and manage their health. In 2016, many local people and partner organisations contributed to proposals to develop health and wellbeing centres (community hubs) in the most deprived communities of Hastings and Bexhill.

The findings were used to inform a Health and Wellbeing Community Hubs Grants Fund that was co-produced by the CCG, the local voluntary and community sector, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council.

This fund resulted in awards being made to community sector organisations to establish Health and Wellbeing Community Hubs in North East Hastings, North West Hastings, Central St Leonards, Central Bexhill and Sidley. Project implementation began in September 2017 and ends in March 2020. See our directory of key services for the full list of the Hubs.

HHR shine a light on cancer

A community approach to promoting early awareness of cancer 

Unique Improvements have delivered a community-focused programme to promote awareness of the early signs and symptoms of cancer. The service has focused on the most deprived communities of Hastings and Rother and has involved setting up 5 Community Teams made up of volunteers who are engaging communities with brief advice activities.

The programme began in January 2017 and ended in September 2018. By the end of the project, achievements included the following:

  • 5846 brief cancer conversations took place during the duration of the project, with 2795 (48%) of these resulting in follow up conversations and 1903 (68%) of people taking part in these saying that they had increased knowledge and willingness to act.

  • 2004 brief advice conversations took place specifically about cancer screening and of the 1200 people taking part in a follow up conversation, 1006 (83%) said they had increased knowledge and willingness to act.

  • 769 volunteer hours took place in the delivery of the project.

  • Volunteers now have a greater knowledge of the signs and symptoms of cancer. The proportion of those who knew 'a great deal' or 'a lot' rose from 33% to 73% by the end of the project. 90% said their increased knowledge would be useful for talking to family and friends in the future and 86% said they would continue to actively talk to people about cancer.

Click here to download a project evaluation report including all outcomes, learning and recommendations.

HHR community empowerment programme

Community empowerment programme 

The community empowerment programme aims to strengthen the capacity and capability of three of our communities in which health inequalities are most prevalent (Ore, Hollington and Sidley). Developed in partnership with Optivo and Orbit housing associations, Hastings Borough Council and other partners, the programme includes support for young people and their families, adults on low incomes and/or living with long-term conditions and delivering Making Every Contact Count and Health Inequalities Leadership training for staff. The programme began in January 2018 and runs until March 2020.

Projects within the programme and the achievements during 2018 include:

  • Motivat8 Health - targeted support for young disadvantaged people aged 10 to 16 years old and their families. This includes personal development programmes, behaviour change support and delivery of healthy lifestyle programmes. 81 young people have engaged with the programme to date.

  • Health Works - targeted support for adults on low incomes and/or living with long term conditions. This will include personal development programmes, life skills training, behaviour change support and delivery of healthy lifestyle programmes. 119 participants have engaged with the programme to date, with 29 now reporting that they feel in greater control of their life and 10 supported into employment.

  • Making Every Contact Count (MECC) training - 66 client facing staff working for Optivo and orbit Housing Associations and Hastings Borough Council have taken part in this training to date. This is embedding prevention across the workforce of these partner organisations and providing staff with the knowledge and skills to have healthy lifestyle conversations with residents.

  • Health Inequalities Leadership Training - 40 senior managers working for Optivo and Orbit Housing Associations, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and the voluntary and community sector, have participated in this training to date, supporting the development of local leadership expertise and capacity, to influence and ensure effective action to reduce health inequalities.


Funded by HR CCG 2017

Reducing health inequalities small grants fund

This fund was a co-production with the CCG, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Community Foundation, Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA) and Rother Voluntary Action (RVA). The grants were funded by Hastings and Rother CCG and supported with additional investment from Artswork, the bridge organisation for the South East in support of Arts Council England's Cultural Education Challenge.

The aims of the funding were to support projects that encourage and support people to:

  • Make healthier lifestyle choices

  • Help people look after their own health better

  • Improve access to local healthcare and or support services that will benefit health

  • Address the wider determinants of health


Grants of up to £10,000 were made available to not-for-profit voluntary and community groups based in or providing a service or activity to residents in the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Hastings and Rother. Between October 2015 and July 2018, 3 funding rounds took place, with investment of £746,000 being awarded across 91 projects. Project delivery took place through the funding period with project activity being delivered through until January 2019.

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