Bridgwater has a relatively high level of COPD (national prevalence is 1.9%, Bridgwater is 2.3% with 3.3% in more deprived areas). It is also among the 20% most deprived areas in England and is one of Somerset’s areas of greatest deprivation, long term illness
and disability.

Bridgwater had the largest proportion of its population unvaccinated against Covid-19 (dose 1) which indicates barriers to accessing healthcare systems. (Somerset’s Covid Vaccination mapping exercise).

Evolving Communities and Healthwatch Somerset have launched a new community engagement project to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Bridgwater, and they are looking for local people to get involved.

The city also has a relatively high level of COPD, with 2.3% prevalence in the population and 3.3% in more deprived areas.

Through the project, Evolving Communities and Healthwatch Somerset aim to reach and represent people in Bridgwater who are living with diagnosed chronic respiratory disease as well as those with undiagnosed breathing difficulties.

Emma Savage, Deputy Director of Quality and Improvement, NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board, said: "This is an exciting project and innovative way to reach out to people living with COPD in Bridgwater using a community, strengths-based approach to help improve their health and wellbeing. We intend to evaluate this project and apply any learning to working with others in Somerset living with a long-term condition."

A spokesperson said :"They want to build and share understanding of their health and care needs and find out how to improve community support to help them access health and care services and inspire them to take positive action to live well."

"To do this, they want to work with people in Bridgwater who have COPD, as well as their families, friends, carers and supporters, and they are now recruiting a team of local volunteer Community Connectors to help with
the project."

If you live in Bridgwater and you or someone you know has COPD, or you have a good understanding of respiratory disease and health inequalities, your support will make a huge difference.

The project is being delivered independently on behalf of Somerset’s Integrated Care System which includes Somerset County Council and
NHS Somerset.



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