Healthy and active Leideners and a smoke-free generation. These are the main ambitions of the Leiden Health and Wellbeing Agreement that was signed online by 40 partners on 19 April. Leiden University will also be drawing on its broad expertise to help realise the ambitions.
In this agreement an impressive 40 partners commit to working together to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Leiden. These partners come from education, health care, community organisations, sports clubs, nature associations, childcare facilities and the business community. They will work with the municipality but above all with the people that this is for: the Leideners themselves.
Researchers and students from Leiden have carried out varies studies in the past few years through the Learning with the City (in Dutch) partnership, into loneliness in the elderly, for example, and how Leideners have been faring during the coronavirus pandemic. Over the next few years, the university and the LUMC will be providing more of their health and lifestyle expertise. There are plans with various partners for lifestyle programmes in different Leiden districts: for example, an annual ‘inspiration market’ and a residents council. The partners want to engage key community figures, from sports clubs and mosques for example, who have a finger on the pulse of their neighbourhood.
Health, lifestyle and wellbeing expertise
President of the Executive Board Annetje Ottow, who signed the agreement on behalf of the university, is enthusiastic about the plans: ‘Our university has a lot of expertise in the area of health, lifestyle and wellbeing. We want to share this with the city, working together with the residents as much as possible. And they in turn will help researchers gain valuable insights.’ Health psychologist Andrea Evers is one of the researchers who signed the agreement.
Expand existing partnerships
Marleen Damen (alderman for Health, Youth Care and Wellbeing) said: ‘We want to this to be a city where children grow up healthy, where young people and adults live a healthy life and where older people are fit and healthy. Together we will build on existing initiatives, start new projects and intensify and expand existing partnerships.’
The Leiden prevention agreement sets out four ambitions:
- Work together as partners and engage the community
- Help the people of Leiden achieve a healthy weight
- Ensure young people in Leiden grow up smoke free
- Promote mental health in the population of Leiden
Special attention for Leiden Noord and Leiden Zuidwest
These ambitions have been converted into concrete ideas and actions to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Leiden. For now, the focus will lie on the districts of Leiden Noord and Leiden Zuidwest, where a relatively large number of people with health problems live. The experiences gained in these districts can then be used in other parts of the city.