The Bristol Network for Equality in Early Years Health and Wellbeing Health Integration Team (BoNEE HIT) 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. Around one in 13 children in Bristol has a chronic or potentially disabling condition which impacts on their daily lives. With a rising child population, Bristol needs a local evidence base along with staff and services that recognise and respond to inequalities in children's health
The team has identified three priority areas, covering antenatal to children aged seven, which will be covered by working groups within the teamOral health
These areas are underpinned by the cross-cutting themes of:
BoNEE's official launch was on 6 November at the Trinity Centre. There was an exhibition of local children's art exploring their health, and a video showing how the BoNEE team worked with the children. The art was created at a series of workshops at children's centres across east Bristol. There was lots of media interest in these workshops, including coverage on ITV West and a story in the Bristol Post.
BoNEE directors Patricia Lucas and Jo Williams also made a presentation explaining more about the partnership and what it's aiming to achieve.
The team has also set up a parent facing web page at which is used when they are out and about talking to parents.Other activities include a whole day seminar led by Patricia Lucas on 'Food Security in Bristol and Beyond', held in April. Along with Katherine Walls and colleagues at the Dental Hospital & School, Patricia is also 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 Newcastle University.
With colleagues at the Wellspring Healthy Living Centre they have met and talked to parents in East Bristol about their views and experiences of health for their young children. So far they have organised one group for parents of Somali descent, and a second for parents from Eastern Europe. More groups are planned.
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.
Patricia and Jo told us: "It's been a lot of work to get the network up and running, but we are really encouraged by the enthusiasm for the project we've received from health professionals, researchers, and community workers. Our thanks to everyone for their work so far, we are really looking forward to seeing our plans producing real change for the children of Bristol."