Dave Bradley, Health Development Coordinator for Harpurhey, Higher Blackley and Charlestown Integrated Neighbourhood Team introduces us to the group created to make the neighbourhood more inclusive.
The inclusion group was set up following a Primary Care Network (PCN) neighbourhood meeting in November 2020 where I presented a set of statistics to our primary care colleagues outlining the disproportionate impact Covid-19 was having on some of our communities, this was also combined with the lower uptake of the vaccine by certain communities which then amplified the problem.
One of our largest communities that had been disproportionately affected across the neighbourhood was the Black African community. With a scenario where a community was less likely to take up the offer of a vaccination coupled up with the expectation that they would encounter poorer health outcomes if they contracted Covid-19 then engagement of this population became a priority.
Initially the inclusion group idea was discussed at our frontline workers meeting. I shared the same slides that we had shared at our PCN meeting and discussed the need to engage with groups and organisations that support the Black African community, not just in North Manchester but citywide. Via this network of workers and utilising their contacts, we spread the word about our ambitions to change the way things were and jointly develop a much more inclusive neighbourhood where people could influence decisions and feel more connected to their health and wellbeing needs. The meetings have all taken place on a fortnightly basis, this may seem frequent but with the pressures we faced it was felt the right frequency and enabled us to feedback the updated figures and how our work was supporting the uptake of the vaccine. All meetings have been on MS Teams which has enabled good levels of engagement during a difficult time.
Partners involved in the meeting include:
- Sick Festival
- CAHN (Caribbean, African Health Network)
- GMMH and No. 93 Wellbeing Centre
- African Voice Moston
- Equal Education Chances
- Edo Diaspora
- Covid Champions
- Be Well
- Northwards Housing
- Great Places Housing
- North Manchester Community Partnership
- Winning Hearts and Minds
- Can-Survive UK
- Joy Community Church
- MCC neighbourhood team
Our first inclusion meeting took place in December 2020. The first meeting had a focus on getting to know each other, sharing our ambition to work more effectively together, sharing data and discussing why some communities might be less likely than others to take up the offer of a vaccination. We also looked at our population and who we wanted to engage with. Whilst we have a large Black African population in Harpurhey, we also have a large population in neighbouring areas. This being the case, we felt that a neighbourhood approach was not the most appropriate one and so decided to focus on the Black African population that lived, worked or worshipped in Harpurhey and Moston rather than be restricted by our own barriers.
As the meetings progressed, we quickly changed the focus of the meetings to Covid-19 neighbourhood statistics and Covid-19 messages and discussions around how we best get our messages out in a culturally appropriate manner to our population of interest. Community leaders within the meetings were key to this and brought many ideas and solutions that the group then supported them to either apply for funding to deliver or support them to develop their ideas.
Some communications have been co-designed within the group and used to promote the uptake of the vaccine locally, these were a mixture of co-designed leaflets and short video messages by those community leaders and shared across social media. The use of Tableau was also a key component of the meetings. Data updates and analysis enabled the group to keep a focus on priorities but also discuss new potential areas of work.
As the group has developed so have the connections within the group. We have come up with ideas and groups have collaborated on funding proposals. To date, this group in less than 1 year, has applied for over £112,000 worth of community funding. To date £33,000 has been successfully achieved with £30,000 ongoing and applied for. We have influenced groups within the inclusion group to apply for circa £40,000 independently via the Covid-19 Resilience Fund.
Projects that we have worked on together include:
- Covid Connectors. Lead organisation CAHN. Engaging the community, identifying community leaders and utilising contacts and networks to deliver Covid-19 messages. Delivering online community dialogue sessions to feedback and guide the inclusion group.
- Nemcoh (Neighbourhood Media connects Health). Lead organisation FreshRB: Engage the Black African community and develop a series of blogs/ media training to tell the story of the community through the lens of Covid-19, will culminate with a short documentary and a community screening event where we aim to encourage service leads to attend and thus amplify the voice that the community has and influence change at the highest level.
- Culturally appropriate foodbanks, VCSE support and resilience building. Lead organisation Edo Diaspora. Aims to deliver training and support VCSEs in the neighbourhood to access training around funding, managing funds and evaluations in a culturally appropriate manner (ongoing).
- Black History Month. Lead organisation GMMH/CAHN. A celebration of Black History and culture, shared event at No. 93 wellbeing centre.
- Communications. Lead organisations: CAHN, Edo Diaspora: culturally appropriate leaflets developed and shared across the neighbourhood. Videos produced and shared via facebook and comms teams at MLCO and MCC.
Learning and Insights
Since developing the inclusion group, the feedback has been excellent. Individuals have told me that they didn’t know each other prior to the development of the group and now they not only know each other but are collaborating on projects and working together. We have never held a celebration of Black History Month in our neighbourhood prior to this year and now we have. We are even planning another Africa day in May and so whilst I feel that we have achieved quite a lot in the last year we are committed to keeping up the impetus and developing our ambitions even more. Our inclusion group now has a terms of reference and has co-designed our neighbourhood inclusion strategy and is going from strength to strength.
Personally, it is my feeling that when we started this group, whilst there was fantastic work being undertaken in the neighbourhood, this was very much in isolation of each other and now everything feels much more connected with a shared vision of where we want to be.
For more information, email Dave – Dave.Bradley@mft.nhs.uk