Can't believe I missed this.
Healthier Futures, formerly Tobacco Free Futures and before that Smokefree North West, has bitten the dust.
In the words of Monty Python it has kicked the bucket, it has ceased to be.
"Rejoice!" as someone once said.
In my defence there has been nothing about the closure of Healthier Futures in the national or local media (or nothing I'm aware of), unlike the demise of Smokefree South West which was a top story on the local BBC and ITV news.
Both broadcasters even reported Forest's reaction which was sympathetic, as you can imagine:
"Taxpayers already pay for NHS smoking cessation services and national anti-smoking campaigns.
"When budgets are so tight, and other services are being cut, it's difficult to justify the use of public money to support yet another tobacco control group.
"The health risks of smoking are very well known and widely publicised by other bodies including Public Health England which has a regional office in Bristol.
"In terms of public health, the impact of Smokefree South West closing will be negligible."
In contrast the only reference I've seen about the closure of Healthier Futures appeared in the British Medical Journal in a feature headlined 'Is the government still serious about reducing smoking?'.
Journalist Sophie Arie didn't even mention the name of the organisation. Instead she wrote:
An effective collaboration of 12 local authorities in north east England is threatened because its almost £1.2m contract is up for renewal on 31 March. A similar collaboration in the north west will end on 31 March, as did its equivalent in the south west last year because of lack of funding.
According to the Healthier Futures website (which is now little more than a holding page), Fresh NE (formerly Smokefree North East), whose future is also said to be "threatened", will "now hold the IP and associated assets" of the defunct organisation.
Sounds like a poisoned chalice to me!
Btw, I've just re-read what I wrote after Tobacco Free Futures rebranded as Healthier Futures last year:
According to chief executive Andrew Crossfield, it marks the "start of the next chapter in our story". She added:
"In addition to tackling tobacco – which is still a vital part of our work – we are excited to now be taking on responsibility to tackle a range of health issues. Our new mission is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives."
Readers will recall that a last minute re-launch couldn't save Smokefree South West.
In February, just three months after it became Public Health Action (adding alcohol to its portfolio), SFSW aka PHA was forced to announce its imminent closure.
Does the same fate await Smokefree North West aka Tobacco Free Futures aka Healthier Futures?
And what about Smokefree North East aka Fresh?