Dr Simon Lennane, a general practitioner in Ross-on-Wye for two decades, has authored a book entitled ‘Creating Community Health: Interventions for Sustainable Healthcare.’ The book delves into the influence of community engagement on health, emphasising the vital role of local voluntary organisations. Dr Lennane will discuss his work at St Mary’s Church on October 4, in an event sponsored by Rossiter Books and The Friends of St Mary’s.

In the book, Dr Lennane explores the idea that the key to better health lies within the community itself. “There are some amazing voluntary groups thriving locally. We have world-leading examples of peer support in Ross,” said Dr Lennane. He cites various local organisations like Hope, which supports young people facing serious family illness, and the first self-funded dementia meeting centre in the UK as exemplars.

Being a founder member of the Ross Community Development Trust, Dr Lennane has had a focus on combating loneliness. “We know loneliness is as dangerous for health as smoking, so we wanted to find ways to help people connect,” he said. The book also delves into ‘social capital,’ the collective value of social networks, which fosters resilience and general well-being.

This focus on community health isn’t just theoretical for Dr Lennane. As the clinical lead for South Herefordshire during the Covid-19 pandemic, he helped set up local urgent response and vaccination clinics. “We saw a huge groundswell of support, with hundreds of volunteers helping with food and medication deliveries and welcoming people to the vaccination centres,” he observed.

Beyond the immediate community benefits, the book also takes a broader view by discussing the health impacts of climate change and the need for sustainable policy, making it a comprehensive look at healthcare from multiple angles.

Those interested in these important topics can hear Dr Lennane discuss them in detail at St Mary’s Church on October 4 at 7pm. Tickets for the event are available both online at rossiterbooks.co.uk and at the door. This is a prime opportunity for Ross-on-Wye residents to engage directly with a local expert on issues that affect them daily, and to gain insights into how community action can genuinely improve health.