Themes‎ > ‎4: Health‎ > ‎

Ilfracombe Healthy Town


Last year Transform in partnership with 27 agencies ran a ‘Healthy Village’ month in Combe Martin. This pilot was extremely successful and all key partners expressed the view that they would like to undertake a more ambitious project that tackled a larger area over a longer period of time. Transform has worked closely with the NHS Devon and the Health Inequalities Group to realize this aspiration.

A project funding has now been secured from Leader4.

This project will meet the following Leader4 aims:
  • To pilot innovative approaches to rural service delivery
  • To reduce barriers to training and employment
This project cannot fund statutory service provision and we must ensure that the focus of the project is on the above aims.


The project has five key aims:
  1. To empower and enable the community to take action on health issues.
  2. To raise awareness of health and wellbeing issues amongst residents within the Ilfracombe area.
  3. To encourage and inform lifestyle changes to reduce long-term health imbalances.
  4. To increase access to, and take-up of, appropriate health services.
  5. To build community capacity to continue a community focus on health beyond the term of the project.


Ilfracombe Central ward is ranked as the most deprived ward in Devon showing multiple signs of deprivation.

Within Ilfracombe, health inequalities are particularly pronounced:
  • A resident born in Ilfracombe can expect to die 18 years before a resident of Devon’s least deprived area.
  • Ilfracombe Central ward has the highest overall mortality rate in the North Devon PCT area
  • In 2004, almost one third (29%) of residents in the Ilfracombe area considered that they had a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.
  • Smoking levels are the highest in the district (34.2%) and obesity levels, the second highest (24.2%).
  • Drug use in Ilfracombe is three times the county average. Rates of alcohol-specific and drug related hospital admissions of Ilfracombe residents are the highest in Devon; almost twice the county average.
  • GP register information indicates a higher proportion of patients with a Mental Health condition than in any other Devon town


The project will run from October 2009 through to April 2011. The main focus of the project will be the 12 month program of activity which will take place between April 2010 and March 2011.
  • The project will develop and deliver a year long program of activities and events (target- 300 events) starting in April 2010 which will include:
  • ‘Social Marketing’ research around key health issues within the community
  • Establishing community focus groups around local issues of health and lifestyle, barriers to service take-up, and trailing new ways to engage with hard to reach groups.
  • Developing a Healthy Ilfracombe Community Action Plan.
  • Recruiting and train a team of 20 volunteer Health Champions to stimulate awareness and interest on the ground.