The Director of Public Health Annual Report 2023

Culture and Communities 

Foreword by the Director of Public Health 

Foreword video transcript - Matthew Ashton

As Director of Public Health for Liverpool, it is with great pride that I introduce this year’s Public Health Annual Report, which focuses on culture and communities. 

Liverpool’s cultural prowess took centre stage in May 2023, hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and earning accolades for its wonderful and inclusive and audacious spirit. The Eurovision Events catalyze community engagement in the city. Programmes like EuroGrant, EuroStreet and EuroLearn exemplified the city’s commitment to positive outcomes and inclusivity. The Eurovision Song Contest allowed Public Health and our partners to reach a wider audience, to promote a healthier lifestyle and the health and wellbeing offers available to our residents. The details of which are included in the report. 

The River of Light Festival in 2023, further exemplified Liverpool’s dedication to wellbeing beyond the visual spectacle. The festival prioritised community engagement, promoting physical interaction with exhibits and celebrating local culture and heritage. Incorporating the 5 ways to wellbeing. This event aimed to enhance public health messages and encourage healthier lifestyles. 

However, Liverpool’s commitment to health extends beyond headline events in the face of ongoing challenges, including cost of living, particularly affecting our most vulnerable communities. This report emphasizes the pressing need to work with our communities to develop innovative approaches. Culture and community are crucial elements in navigating this challenging landscape. Recognising the role of cultural understanding and shaping effective policy responses, we aim to promote community ties, resilience, and shared resources. By listening to our community and working collaboratively, we aspire to develop targeted interventions to empower communities during these challenging times.  

Collaborations with community champions is just one example of the city’s dedication to inclusivity and empowerment. Their impact on vaccination uptake, mental health and awareness raising demonstrated the power of community driven initiatives. Liverpool’s health campaigns showcase a targeted and innovative approach to public health. The Save Kids from Sugar initiative addresses childhood health inequalities by providing parents with tools to navigate sugar content. This campaign spans schools, family hubs, hospitals and more. Emphasizing Liverpool’s commitment to addressing health issues from an early age.  

This report highlights Liverpool’s unwavering dedication to culture, communities, and inclusivity to reduce inequalities and improve health and wellbeing for people in our city. As we navigate the intricate tapestry of Liverpool’s initiatives, it becomes evident that this city with its rich, cultural heritage, resilient communities and innovative public health practices stands as a beacon for good practice worldwide. 

I hope you enjoy this report. 

“The Eurovision Song Contest allowed Public Health and our partners to reach a wide audience to promote a healthier lifestyle and the Health and Wellbeing Offer available to our residents.”

Matthew Ashton

Director of Public Health

Foreword by Councillor for Health and Culture

Foreword video transcript - Councillor Harry Doyle

It’s been another incredible year for the public health team in Liverpool, and I am immensely proud to be the cabinet member for health, wellbeing and culture. Liverpool Public Health and Culture have built an outstanding partnership in recent years to improve the lives of people in our communities.  

Some Incredible things have happened in Liverpool in 2023 that have built on this relationship. And that includes the city hosting, of course, the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine. The event was a great success and put a spotlight on our city and all the wonderful people that live here. With over 162 million people viewing the event. The contest plus supporting events, including the Eurovision Village saw a footfall of over 500,000 people, resulting in many benefits to the city. Including the creation of jobs and opportunities. Eurovision was followed by other events such as the River of Light Festival, which again, was a big success and provides an opportunity for public health to work with colleagues from LCC Culture and wider partners to promote health messages to improve health and wellbeing. These are just two events that showcase the importance of using culture and the events to improve the lives of our residents. 

There still remain challenges with people living in deprived areas of the city, being more likely to have shorter life and spend more time in poor health. This is why we need to work with our communities to reduce inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. These are highlighted in the recently published data Health in Liverpool 2040 report, and these include the development of the public health supported Life Rooms social model of health. Our work around vaping to reduce the risks of vaping to young people and joint operations with LCC trading standards, the Alcohol and Tobacco unit, Public Health and Police. To stop the sale of illegal and counterfeit vaping products. And there are many more examples. 

As ever, better investment for prevention will always be key. Enabling the system to drive up improvements in health and wellbeing, allowing more people to live longer, healthier lives. There’s a lot of information in this report, we need to build on this work and work together to meet the challenges ahead to improve health and wellbeing for our residents. 

So thank you for taking the time to read it and for working alongside us as we continue to address health inequalities together. 

“Liverpool Public Health and Culture have built an outstanding partnership in recent years, to improve the lives of people in our communities.”

Councillor Harry Doyle

Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture