Dr Patricia Lucas reflects on the Bristol Network for Equality in Early Years Health and Wellbeing (BoNEE) Health Integration Team's first year.
The Bristol Network for Equality in Early Years Health and Wellbeing (BoNEE) HIT was approved in December 2013 and aims to tackle the health inequalities that have a profound and lifelong impact on the health and wellbeing of children. Deprivation in Bristol is higher than average for England, with nearly 20,000 children living in poverty.
Some of our activities so far include a whole day seminar on ‘Food Security in Bristol and Beyond’, held in April. Katherine Walls and colleagues at the Dental Hospital & School are looking at paediatric dental activities under general anaesthetic. Debbie Watson and Jo Williams have begun a systematic review of early interventions for social and emotional wellbeing with colleagues at Cardiff University, University of Bristol and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
With colleagues at the Wellspring Healthy Living Centre we have met and talked to parents in East Bristol about their views and experiences of health for their young children. So far we have organised one group for parents of Somali descent, and a second for parents from Eastern Europe. More groups are planned.
We have several masters students who will be undertaking dissertations linked to our interest in early years nutrition. Jessica Williams’s work has been crucial in the city for improving diet for young children, including access to Healthy Start vitamins, and training in healthy eating for early years practitioners.