Feedback from Worcester residents shapes local health initiatives

News item posted: 17 March 2017

Feedback from Worcester residents is helping to shape and deliver local health initiatives in Warndon, Gorse Hill and Rainbow Hill

People living in Warndon, Gorse Hill and Rainbow Hill have had a unique opportunity to help shape community projects and health initiatives in their area. This innovative approach to community service design is run by Turning Point, a health and social care organisation with community engagement expertise, on behalf of NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. The aim of the project is to better understand how to promote health initiatives, prevent health issues and ensure health services and community groups meet the needs of the local area.

Earlier this year, local people in the wards of Warndon, Gorse Hill and Rainbow Hill were recruited as Community Champions and spoke to over 300 residents living in these areas to find out how people felt about health care services, their community and other areas affecting their health and wellbeing.

The feedback given by local residents to the Community Champions has led to new community projects being piloted to try and meet some of the needs identified. These include:

• A local drop-in service, "Time to Talk", run by residents for residents. This will run on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at Warndon Community Centre from October 14th and gives people somewhere to meet with a friendly face where they can sit and chat - and most importantly - be listened to. They can also access guidance and information about other local events and services which might be useful.

• A lifestyle group where people from the local community living with a long term condition will have the opportunity to receive free practical sessions from local service providers on a range of topics from cheap and healthy recipe ideas to coping with stress.

One of the Community Champions, Hannah, explains what she hopes the local projects will achieve:

"I think the "Time to Talk" drop in service that we are going to run will be brilliant because for some people finding someone to talk to or working out where to go for advice is really difficult but with "Time to Talk", someone can just pop in and have a chat. So if someone is having a really low day they can just drop in instead of having to wait days to speak about their problems. We can also help people to access services by telling them about our own experiences over a cup of tea and a chat so people know they are not on their own".

The findings from the research have been written into a report. You can read the full report via (i/community-commissioning/connected-care/projects/worcester-strengthening-healthy-communities.aspx)

Rosemary Wallbank, Turning Point Project Manager, said:

"The research shows that some local people are having to juggle a lot of stresses which can have an effect on how they manage their physical and mental health. Some of the case studies in the report really highlight this. The findings also suggest that when people feel supported and connected to people, they feel better able to manage their health.

Hopefully, the pilot initiatives we are running can give people living in these areas some real support and connect them to people who are like them as well as to services who can provide help and support in the most suitable way."

Dr Carl Ellson, Chief Clinical Office for NHS South Worcestershire CCG, added:

"Reducing health inequalities is one of our priorities and this innovative piece of work has been really helpful in looking at new ways in which we can address some of these problems."

If you want to know more about the project or about how to access the "Time to Talk" drop in, or lifestyle group, please get in touch with Rosie Wallbank on 07553 374 481 or email rosemary.wallbank@turning-point.co.uk.