The Manchester Wellness Coalition completed several state and local health surveys in cooperation with the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation, collecting baseline data to be used for future assessments. Throughout 2011 and into 2012, they distributed 600 summary booklets containing an overview of the CWF mission and vision statements, the purpose and duties of the Manchester Wellness Coalition, key health indicators and potential interventions. They also presented before 28 community groups, covering civic, government, educational, business and religious interests, with a total audience of approximately 650 community members. Written and oral feedback from these venues, including health and fitness priorities identified by community members, were utilized in developing the Manchester plan.
Current gaps in Manchester include:
- Some walking/bicycling groups and programs exist in Manchester, but not well coordinated or promoted. No dedicated walking/bicycling routes exist within Manchester – bicycle riding on sidewalks is prohibited in the downtown Manchester CBD. Gaps exist in sidewalk coverage.
- No physical activities exist specifically geared to economically disadvantaged persons, and limited programs for seniors.
- The lack of a community swimming pool was often mentioned in discussions.
- Rural residents have no options for organized health and fitness programs except to come into Manchester Village.
- Residents expressed that the choices of healthy food options are limited, and there are limited or no low-calorie/low-fat menu items at local restaurants. Limited healthy food options in mini-marts. Desire for enhanced Farmers Market.
- Other than Manchester Voices/Project SUCCESS and a small AA gathering, there are no organized programs directed at reducing tobacco, alcohol and prescription drug abuse in the Manchester area. There is some disbelief in the community that a prescription drug problem may be developing locally.
The Coalition developed a Manchester Comprehensive Wellness Plan covering the 2012-2016 period, which received CWF approval for implementation and funding in June, 2016. This Plan identifies multiple interventions targeted towards the four mission goals of eating better, moving more, avoiding unhealthy substances and connecting with others in healthy ways.