Richmond is a culturally diverse community with a high population of visible minorities and immigrants. Although its residents are not as overweight and smoke less in comparison to the rest of BC, the City faces a number of health related challenges. Richmond residents report a lower sense of belonging in the community, lower physical activity levels, lower fruit and vegetable consumption, and a higher proportion of screen time compared to the rest of BC residents.
To address these challenges, the City created the Richmond Community of Excellence for Sport and Wellness. Under this initiative there are four interrelated strategies, one of which is the Richmond Community Wellness Strategy.
SUMMARY OF THE PROCESS
Council endorsed the Community of Excellence for Sport and Wellness Initiative in 2007. This was developed with the idea of creating a sustainable legacy of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, to highlight Richmond as a healthy, active community, and to create a positive, livable environment for residents.
Supported by a strong partnership formed between the City of Richmond, VCH, and the Richmond School District, the development of the Richmond Community Wellness Strategy also began in 2007. A steering committee, involving members from each of these three entities, was formed to guide the formulation of this Strategy.
Community engagement was imperative for the development of the Strategy: 46 key informant interviews; a community workshop with 56 participants, representing a range of agencies and organizations within Richmond; and a Parks, Recreation and Culture Community Needs Assessment all provided input about the current situation in Richmond.
With the accumulated information, three key wellness outcomes were targeted for this Strategy:
- Increased permanent commitment to wellness and wellbeing;
- Increased physical activity and physical fitness;
- Increased sense of connectedness to community and a feeling of belonging.
To reach these desired outcomes, seven strategic directions were developed:
- Increase Active Living Literacy;
- Help Children and Youth Build Healthy Habits;
- Reduce Barriers to Living a Physically Active Life for Vulnerable Populations and People Living with a Disability;
- Build a Connected and Activated Social Environment;
- Create Urban Environments that Support Wellness and Encourage Physical Activity;
- Promote Health Literacy and Individually-Focused Health Care;
- Measure and Share Our Success.
Under each of these strategic directions, a list of tangible actions was created. Each action outlines the key agencies involved, the measurable outcome, and a timeframe.
OUTCOMES & IMPACTS
The 2012 Healthy Richmond Survey was collaboratively developed to provide a baseline measure of the health of Richmond residents. This has helped determine the present state of community wellness while also guiding city staff and elected officials’ decisions related to community health and wellbeing.
Chronic Disease Management physical activity programs, Newcomer Tours for new Richmond residents, two new community gardens, and the construction of two lawn bowling greens (primarily for older adults) are examples of new initiatives that have been developed as a result of the Strategy.
The Wellness Connections Program helps seniors to reconnect with people through recreation and leisure activities. VCH continues to provide support through grant funding.
The Official Community Plan, adopted in 2013, prioritizes expanding parks, open space, and the trails network to create an urban landscape that will foster social and physical wellbeing.
In 2013, Vancouver Coastal Health, in partnership with Fraser Health and the UBC eHealth Strategy Office, launched the online survey entitled My Health, My Community as a follow-up to the Healthy Richmond Survey. The purpose of this survey was to provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the health of Richmond residents and to assess the achievements of the Community Wellness Strategy.
For more information, please contact:
Special Projects Coordinator
Community Services Department
City of Richmond