Healthy Happy Places

The Healthy Happy Places programme focuses on creating and supporting good mental health and wellbeing through its connection with the built and designed environment in the North East and North Cumbria.

This programme of work is funded by the AHSN NENC to support the Integrated Care System (ICS NENC) mental health workstream in its aim to create healthy, sustainable places, as well as the wider Public Health agenda around inequalities and prevention.

Healthy Happy Places will build upon existing good practice within the region in terms of collaborative planning and public health approaches but with a particular emphasis on mental health, wellbeing, and design focussed solutions.

This is a new area of work for both the AHSN NENC and the ICS NENC and will involve forming new collaborations across a wide geographical area and different sectors.


Sign up to our mailing list to receive more information about the Healthy Happy Places Programme.


Programme Vision

The vision is to develop a concept for a sustainable innovation hub in the North East and North Cumbria for the creation of healthy, happy environments through collaborations between health, public health, built environment professionals, the third sector and communities that can be supported through innovative financing mechanisms which would enable investment in new and existing places.


Programme Aims

  • To create a regional hub to connect people and projects to stimulate innovative practices for healthy, happy environments.
  • To respond to inequalities experienced in the North East and North Cumbria with participatory planning and design-based solutions.
  • To evaluate the impact of design interventions on wellbeing and contribute to the knowledge base.
  • To understand the current regional position and policies for supporting the development of healthy, happy places and assess gaps and needs.
  • To understand good practice and assess gaps within existing national policies, guidance and frameworks for the development of healthy, happy places.
  • To explore the concept and feasibility of creating a health and wellbeing design review panel supported by a mental health and wellbeing design toolkit for the North-East and North Cumbria.
  • To celebrate and promote existing best practice in the region.
  • To share knowledge and innovative practices of wellbeing in the built and designed environment across different disciplines and systems.


Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

The programme will be guided by a set of principles that focusses on areas of inequality, supported by health evidence.

It will be concerned with the built and designed environment in its widest sense, and the public spaces in between, relating to both new and existing places.

It will focus on mental health and wellbeing, acknowledging that physical health outcomes are interconnected, and will embrace participatory approaches, co-creation, and arts-based interventions where appropriate.

It will be about ‘doing’ – taking action on issues that matter to communities and partners.

Meet the Team

Dr Rachel Turnbull is a Programme Manager who works in healthcare innovation leading regional projects in the North-East of England. Originally qualified as a clinician with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Rachel has developed more than 12 years’ experience in project management and service improvement roles across the North-East and has recently completed a further degree in urban planning and architecture. Her interests lie in the connections between wellbeing and urban design and how to support the creation of healthy, happy, fun places where people and communities can thrive.

With thanks to Timothy Crawshaw MA MRTPI FRSA for his contribution early in the project, and Holly Hare for project support.

Find out more

To find out more about the Healthy Happy Places Programme sign up to our mailing list or contact Dr Rachel Turnbull.