The Trust for Developing Communities (TDC) is one of several community organisations commissioned by Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the NHS to consult with diverse communities of identity on topics relating to their experience of health and wellbeing services. The aim of this work is to alert government health services to the needs of diverse groups of people within our city, with recommendations made at the end of each consultation on how both organisations and communities can improve access to services. TDC, due to our work with BME communities, is one organisation very well placed to consult with the individuals the commission was looking to gather feedback from.
On 15th March Jane Lodge, Head of Participation and Voluntary Sector Partnerships for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, brought all of these voluntary sector organisations together at the Ralli Hall in Hove, along with their CEOs and commissioners, to celebrate the achievements of the past two years. Each organisation gave a short presentation to inform the audience about the successes and findings of the consultation work, highlighting areas of change and improvement to NHS services which have come about as a result.
Every quarter throughout this consultation period, the CCG rolled out health related topics to the organisations involved. TDC then consulted with BME communities to gather their feedback on subjects such as healthy eating, active lifestyles and access to GP services. Sayanti and Sabiha, two of our BME workers, identified the BME respondents through previous group work, partnership work, referrals and through visiting local community centres and events. Over 30 BME groups were consulted and through engagement the workers supported the groups with other development needs as well. In addition to the CCG suggested topics, organisations were also invited to consult on an issue of their choosing – with TDC focusing on domestic violence.
Some of the positive comments about participating in the consultation included: ‘We feel valued and being able to influence the decisions concerning healthcare’ And ‘Community and Voluntary sector organisations have an important role in bringing about changes in attitudes – they are more accessible’.
As well as providing reports to the CCG and NHS, the process also helped TDC’s community development workers raise awareness about community and voluntary sector and statutory organisations and helped signpost people to other relevant services. The consultation has given an opportunity to bridge the gaps between services and communities, encouraging cultural exchange and social cohesion.
The consultation has resulted in many positive changes – building better links between communities, improved signage at the hospital, and an increased sense of communities feeling valued.
Find out more about TDC’s Equalities and Inclusion work with diverse communities.