In 2020, NHS Charities Together announced a £30 million grants programme across England. The programme recognised that the NHS relies on partnerships in the voluntary, community and care home sectors and aims to encourage and support these partnerships across geographical areas that support communities affected by COVID-19. The expectation was that the funding should be used for projects that benefit the NHS and VCSE sector across each STP/ICS. The Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity were asked by NHS Charities Together to administer the grant of £445,532 on behalf of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS.
The Suffolk and North East Essex ICS Partnership Board agreed to use the opportunity to deploy this funding donated by members of the public to NHS Charities Together in Suffolk and North East Essex to make a difference to those communities that we know have been hardest hit by the Covid19 pandemic – those from BAME and deprived communities. The programme reflects the following established system priorities, values and commitments:
- our primary ambition to enable health equality for everyone;
- building sustainable partnerships and collaboration between NHS, local government and VCSE sector organisations with a focus on our three locality alliances;
- our commitment to co-production with individuals and community groups with lived experience;
- an approach that contributes to building capacity and sustainability in the voluntary and community sector;
- delivering measurable impact underpinned by an outcome based approach that enables benefits that should improve outcomes.
Six projects from across our three Alliances were chosen as part of a successful proposal on behalf of the ICS to NHS Charities Together for a programme to begin in April 2021. They are:
North East Essex
Bangladeshi Women Association Essex – Access to aid interactions with the local health system – £117,921
- BWAE will continue to directly build on outreach community development to remove barriers to access services, treatment, care, and support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
African Families in the UK – Pamoja Project – £53,000
- The project will focus on black men who have experienced mental health issues. For example by dispelling some of the myths in the communities which have led to over-diagnosis, high rates of detention and of suicide. This will also be extended into the black women’s group who are also disproportionately subject to these experiences. Additionally, adapting a successful concept used in Africa where people with Mental Health issues are assigned to digging trenches, roads, working in farms and mixing with the community and enjoying sunshine and fresh air. The project will include therapy sessions and creative art-based activities working with Community Ambassadors who will be recruited from different communities and faiths across Colchester and Tendring.
Ipswich and East Suffolk
PHOEBE – BAME Community Hub – £125,000
- The project programme presents an opportunity to capitalise on the underutilised NHS Property and assets to design and develop a Cradle to Grave BAME Community Hub within our most deprived community in the IP1 area (Whitton) in Ipswich, which is in the 40% most deprived areas in England.
Volunteering Matters and ISCRE – Young Health Ambassadors – £44,000
- The project will engage young people from BAME communities in Ipswich to co-produce health focused solutions to begin to address the health inequalities that exist in their communities. This will lead to a network of 60 young BAME health ambassadors across Ipswich. Harnessing the power of storytelling will mean this co-production will be intersectional and therefore expects to influence systems not just programmes or interventions. By building a pathway from community to places of power, providing total equity for young people, modelling them as experts and ourselves as novices. This will enable health leaders with a lens into communities; young people often do not recognise the problem as it is presented and articulated by expert professionals. This is a major reason for them not engaging with the proposed programmatic solutions. This will enable them to articulate for the first time, the problems as they see them and influence leaders and approaches to build solutions from a community informed perspective.
Ladies of SEN – African Well Woman Project – £15,065
- The SEN African Well Woman is a physical health and wellbeing project aimed at educating local African women on eating well within cultural dietary needs and uptake of physical fitness to promote lifestyle change behaviours that combat obesity within the African community.
Sharing Parenting – Breaking through the Barriers (BTTB) – £90,546
- The Aims of the Project are to engage vulnerable families in the continued development of BTTB increasing access to health information, focusing on the mental health amplified by the pressures of Covid19 and increasing access of the Urdu community (and others) to both school, community and health resources. This project outline has involved families in discussions around this project and will build on this to develop a planning group supporting the growth of the project and its aims working in new ways through co production. Using the principles of co-production we hope to build working teams that address issues that parents and families feel are important. Engaging targeted families through discussions with families, listening to their experiences and what they feel is needed, their experience is invaluable to helping others, designing and delivering the project as it develops new ways of working.