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Research and policy updates from our Relationship Support Alliance partners – June 2013

By OnePlusOne, 26 June 2013 Strengthening relationships

Relationships – the missing link in public health. A report from the Relationships Alliance

With responsibility for public health having now moved to local authority control, and Public Health England, the new public body responsible for national oversight and guidance in this area having come into being, this timely report argues why it is time for relationship health to take its rightful place as a central element of public health policy.

The report summarises research showing how high relationship quality is associated with better health and wellbeing. It explores the ways in which the failure to foster and develop people’s ability to sustain strong and stable relationships has deleterious consequences for health later in life, for example in relation to cardiovascular disease, alcohol misuse and depression. The report puts forward a number of principles that should underpin a relational approach to public health, includes a number of case studies of good or emerging practice in this field and ends with a wide-ranging set of recommendations.

Throughout the report, links are made to indicators in the public health outcomes framework, since it is against these indicators that performance on public health will be measured. This report sets out a wholly new conception of public health in the aim of influencing those charged with improving public health in local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and other bodies.

As the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Strengthening Couple Relationships states in his foreword to the report, ‘if we re-frame our thinking and our frontline practice so that concern for the quality of people’s relationships is seen as part and parcel of our everyday work, we can make significant improvements across a range of public health areas in which outcomes have long been poor’.

Couple relationships and health and well-being in later life: a policy briefing paper from the Relationships Alliance

This briefing looks at the importance of not only supporting couple relationships for later life but also in later life itself. It discusses how, for too long, the older couple relationship has been largely invisible at all levels – policy-making, commissioning, local service provision; and highlights the cost in emotional and economic terms of our failure to sufficiently target help to relationships which, if they could hold together, might provide care and containment that is otherwise very expensive to provide in institutional settings. The briefing also notes the advent of a small number of innovative services in this area, for example in older people’s IAPT and approaches to dementia care which focus on the couple relationship.

Both of these publications will be available from the TCCR website ( ) from the end of June.

News from Marriage Care

Nearly 200 Marriage Care relationship counsellors and educators came together in Milton Keynes for a weekend of continuing professional development, studying of Marriage Care’s strategy for the future and to meet Mark Molden, Marriage Care’s newly appointed Chief Executive. Over 80 counsellors had intensive training on domestic violence protocols led by trainers from SMC, our sister organisation in Scotland, which we hope will enable us to meet the needs of our clients better. Quickly following on from this was the move of Marriage Care’s national support team to new offices in Bishops Park House, 25-29 Fulham High Street, London SW6 3JH.; Facebook; LinkedIn; Twitter

Relate launches campaign on relationships in later life

At the end of March, Relate launched its campaign on relationships in later life, which seeks to raise awareness about the importance of strong personal relationships as people grow older. Relate partnered with Ipsos MORI to poll over 1,000 over 50s, to find out about the most important ingredients for a happy later life. The three most important things were good health, financial security and strong relationships. Relate then worked with Gransnet to help raise awareness among the target market and a new Relate site, was launched to support older people with their relationships. The site includes a relationship checker and videos of older people talking about different aspects of their relationships. A policy report into the issue has been written with New Philanthropy Capital, and will be published at the end of June at a reception in the House of Lords.

Relate annual lecture with Charles Handy

The Relate Lecture which this year was given by the respected writer and management philosopher Charles Handy and featured an exhibition by Liz Handy was attended by 130 people including a range of business leaders. The event has now been released online as a video podcast. A profile interview with Charles Handy appeared in the Financial Times on the day of the lecture and introduced the Relate brand to a business audience.

Relate joins End Youth Homelessness Campaign

The End Youth Homelessness Campaign – a coalition between Centrepoint, the Royal College of GPs, HSBC, Princes Trust, Relate and others was launched at a House of Commons event.  The campaign has a website where individuals and organisations can pledge to end youth homelessness.  The event included keynote speeches from Mark Prisk MP, Housing Minister, Jack Dromey MP, Shadow Housing Minister and Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.  Now that the campaign has been launched, it will be adopting a thematic approach to its work – its next area of focus will be youth unemployment before moving onto families and relationship support next year.


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