Homes for wellbeing

The Housing Board works with partners to ensure homes and services support better health and wellbeing for all our residents. Housing has a major impact on health and wellbeing in a variety of ways- through its design, management, use and maintenance. Decent homes support the health of residents by reducing cold damp homes and avoiding  overcrowding; also by making sure the home’s design enables a person to live the best life possible for example being suitable for a wheelchair and avoiding slips, trips and falls within the home.

Cambridgeshire’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2012-2017 identifies housing as a “wider determinant of health” in this diagram.

The local picture

What data do we have and use to analyse the links between homes and wellbeing across our housing market area?

Joint strategic needs assessments

Cambridgeshire’s Housing and Health Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) was published in 2013 and gives an introduction to housing and housing issues in Cambridgeshire, to the organisations delivering housing services and funding and to strategic plans for Cambridgeshire.

The aim of the JSNA is to identify how each of the seven housing priorities link to health and wellbeing of our residents – and to the Health and Wellbeing Board and Clinical Commissioning Group’s priorities.

Liz Robin, Direct of Public Health says “Health professionals and managers who wish to learn about the potential links between health and housing services are strongly recommended to read the full JSNA report.”

Then in 2016, a useful JSNA on New Housing Development and the Built Environment was published, drawing together themes for new sites and how they can support resident wellbeing, if they are well planned.

You can find all the area’s JSNAs on this page.

Fuel poverty

Please visit our Fuel Poverty atlas here, to find out more on fuel poverty across all wards in the seven districts of our area.

You can also find out more about the age of housing across our area, which helps identify which may have solid walls, which in turn can affect the thermal efficiency of the home. This open data story starts to set out the available data.


Build standards

There are government standards for new build housing, around room sizes and about how visitable, accessible and  adaptable homes are. Please visit this page about build standards, to find our guide to these topics which link to residents’ wellbeing, in that we all need enough space to thrive in; and some of us have a need for different build layouts for a variety of reasons, including wheelchair use.

Housing for health website

The Housing for Health website provides easily digestible information about housing with insights into ways new health-housing partnerships might help achieve the necessary transformation in health.

It was prepared by NHS Alliance following interviews with General Practitioners, Clinical Commissioners, Practice Managers and other community health professionals. It is aimed at strategic leads in general practice, primary care and clinical commissioning and provides

  • Information about the housing system and how it is organised.
  • Insights into roles housing organisations are adopting within local health economies to improve patient care, reduce demand on the NHS and prevent people from needing expensive healthcare – and why they are doing this.
  • Specific examples of health-housing partnerships that are emerging.
  • Advice on how to build relationships with local housing partners.

It aims to help strategic health leaders understand and engage with housing organisations and to develop important partnerships with other organisations operating beyond NHS boundaries as we all take steps to create a wider ‘community of care’ in response to the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Housing and health at the Learning and Improvement Network

The Housing LIN has pulled out the essential tools and resources to help you can make informed decisions around health and housing, and work towards better integration. The site cover a wide range of topics and include good practice, case studies and discussion areas about the links between housing and health. The housing and health – health intel pages are a great place to start.

Planning new homes and communities for older people

The Housing LIN has published excellent guidance about planning new homes and communities for older people. These pages provide the planning policy background for planning applications focussing on specialist housing for older people, as well as other issues to consider before applying for planning permission.

Making the links about homes for older people locally

Here we set out some resources which should be helpful when thinking through housing issues for older people. Across our area there are various groups, projects and strategies, all of which is set in the context of our Health and Wellbeing Board JSNAs and strategies and the Transforming Lives agenda.

Arrows in the diagram below try to set out some of the links, as at December 2015. These may well change over time and the diagram will be re-visited and added to, in future:

Some groups and strategies are listed below, with links where available:

Older people’s housing, care and support needs in Greater Cambridge 2017-2036

In partnership with the University of Sheffield, the Centre for Regional Economic & Social Research at Sheffield-Hallam university assessed the future housing, care and support needs of residents in Greater Cambridge. This work was commissioned by South Cambridgeshire District Council, in collaboration with Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, with funding from NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme.

The research provides a range of findings for local partners on the future supply of older people’s housing and the links between housing provision, other services and policies.

The project led to the development of a new tool to help local authorities across England assess the need for older people’s housing in their area. The HOPSR tool is available to download. It provides each local authority with recommendations about the number of age-exclusive homes, specialist homes and care beds required in their area in future years.  It also enables users to test different scenarios and plan on the basis of certain population sizes.

The recommendations are intended to stimulate discussion at a local level about how best to meet the requirements of an ageing population. The research shows that the future needs of older people can be met in different ways, and that local authorities and their partners should try to understand the relationship between different services and forms of accommodation to define local priorities and strategies for action.

The final report from the research Older people’s housing, care and support needs in Greater Cambridge 2017-2036 is available to download here.

The Housing for Older People Supply Recommendations tool is available using this link HOPSR-tool. Upon opening the file, please ‘enable macros’ and select one of the four options in the boxes.

Extra care strategy 2011 to 2015

Our delivery strategy for extra care housing in Cambridgeshire is available within our document library and was created by a partnership of organisations and interests from across Cambridgeshire. The strategy includes mapping, priorities for future development and an action plan which will be reviewed and updated, ready for re-publication in 2015.

Cambridgeshire’s older peoples strategy

You can find Cambridgeshire’s Older People Strategy here.

Modernising care

Cambridgeshire County Council is taking a strategic approach to social work and social care, called Transforming Lives, and older people services are being developed and changed to help deliver Cambridgeshire’s Older People Strategy.

You can find more about Cambridgeshire’s approach here and Suffolk County Council provides further detail here.


Health and Wellbeing Boards

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health and Wellbeing Boards and networks bring together leaders from local organisations that have a strong influence on health and wellbeing, including the commissioning of health, social care and public health services.

Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks, or PCNs for short, are groups of general practices working together with a range of local providers.

PCNs were introduced as part of the NHS’ Long Term Plan, published in 2019. PCNs came into being in July 2019. They were created to provide patients with proactive, coordinated care, with a strong focus on prevention and personalised care.

You can find a list of local PCNs here (as at Feb 2021) covering the GP practices and pharmacies in each network; a map here and some FAQs here.

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire is part of the national Healthwatch network.

This network helps people have their say on local health and social care services by linking them to the organisations buying and providing care. Healthwatch collects people’s stories and experiences of using local health and social care services – and shares that information – pointing out the good and helping to improve care where it is needed.

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire is asking housing providers (for example, housing associations) to help – to make sure as many people as possible across the county know how to have their say on health and social care issues which matter to them.

Care & Repair England

Care & Repair England is a small, national charitable organisation set up in 1986 to improve the homes and living conditions of older people. It believes that all older people should be able to live in a decent home of their own choosing.

Every home improvement agency provides a range of services depending on the needs of the local community. Services can include the following:

  • Providing a list of reliable local builders and contractors.
  • Visiting you at home to give advice about any problems you have with the condition of your home.
  • Setting out your housing options and helping you decide which is best for you.
  • Helping you obtain other local support services.
  • Checking whether you are entitled to any financial help (for example, disability benefits, or money to help you repair or adapt your home).
  • Helping with any work you decide to have carried out on your home. For example, drawing up plans, getting estimates and liaising with others involved in the work, such as council grants officers and occupational therapists.
  • Additional services such as a handyperson services, to carry out small jobs around your home, help with gardening, or coming home from hospital.
  • Helping to make your home more energy-efficient.

The first visit and advice is free. Most home improvement agencies charge a fee if you decide to go ahead with any work using their assistance, which can normally be included with any grant you are eligible for. It is your decision whether you want the home improvement agency to help, and any costs will be discussed and agreed with you first.


Foundations is the national body for home improvement agency and handyperson services. Their website includes a useful directory of services across England.

Local home improvement agencies

You can find out about local home improvement agencies by visiting our Housing Guide, here.