We know that some members of Hounslow’s community are less likely to approach local authorities and/or statutory services for advice and support for living and being well, particularly members of ‘emerging communities’, ‘hard to reach communities’ and ‘seldom heard groups’.
The UK model of care can be very different to other care systems worldwide, which may lead to confusion on entry points and how to access the right services at the right time. This sometimes leads to inappropriate use of Accident and Emergency services and the lack of accessing preventative care, such as standard immunisations and ante-natal support.
Too often, patient and public involvement has meant distributing patient leaflets or conducting surveys with people who are already engaged and active within the health and social care systems – usually in a GP or hospital waiting room.
Supporting members of emerging communities in Hounslow
Mr Dharma Tamang and his family discuss what matters to members of the Nepalese community about living and being well.
The Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group and Spark the Difference are working together to better understand the needs and expectations of individuals and families within emerging communities. These rich interactions outside clinical settings, supported by trained volunteers from within the emerging communitiescan change individuals’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.
This leads to increased trust and willingness of individuals to engage in health, wellbeing and care.
This Service seeks to positively impact on community members’ wellbeing and increase outcomes of take-up of preventive health behaviours by local populations, as well as improved staff morale.
Moving from insights into action
The approach involves understanding the narrative of local community members and working together in the shared design, shared production and iterative communication of developing a volunteer outreach service.
Three work streams are being developed through the Emerging Communities Service:
Where the Service will start
Emerging communities make up approximately 9% of Hounslow’s population.
By trying to reach all members within emerging communities, the Service risks trying to ‘do everything’ and may not have impact in engaging deeply with any community group, let alone reach double marginalised groups, such as LGBT women within an Islamic community.
As such, the Service will initially focus on members of the Polish community (10,355 people), Afghan community (4,463 people), Romanian community (829 people), Nepalese community (2,089 people) and Somalian community (2,707 people).
Activities planned over the summer 2017
The Service is being developed in the coming months by working with community representatives and Voluntary and Community Sector organisations. Activities include undertaking a joint diagnosis on the benefits and barriers (perceived and actual); identification of drivers for increased involvement; and development of outreach strategies and tactics.
For more details, or to get involved
Who are Spark the Difference?
Spark the Difference is a social enterprise that believe the little things can add up to make a big difference. Little things like moments of reciprocity and empathy between individuals.
We can't change an entire health and social care system overnight. But we can share insights about what matters to people to drive stronger decisions and better policy. At the core of our work is the belief: it’s time to bring the humanity back into the one to one interactions in health and social care, between people who give and receive care.