Community projects leading the way with participation

NHS England has awarded community grants, totalling £10,000, to community organisations that have successfully involved patients and the public in healthcare projects. The grants have enabled these groups to showcase the excellent work they are doing so that others can learn from their experiences.

You can find out more about the projects and the impact they are having by accessing the films, comics, booklets and other resources the projects have created.

Listening to people with lived experience of care services: Over2you is a project run by South Yorkshire Housing Association which has been working with volunteers to gather the experiences of people who have used health and social care services across the north of England. In this short film they explain how they have gathered feedback on how services can be developed to better meet the needs of the people who access the services and their carers.

Working with the homeless community to improve health and wellbeing: St George’s Crypt is a charity that works with homeless people in Leeds to improve many aspects of their lives, including health and wellbeing. Clients come to the crypt and tell staff about the services they are having problems accessing or the things they would like to be involved in. The crypt works in partnership with other organisations including the University, NHS and City Council to bring in the services needed. They have produced a film that highlights some of the successes of their joint work including making physiotherapy and exercise classes available to homeless people.

Using community conversations to develop a health plan: In Rusholme, Manchester, ‘Healthy Me Healthy Communities’ has been working with residents, patients and a range of partners to produce a health plan for the whole community. It has done this by holding community conversations that put people at the heart of the process. They have developed some visual guides, including an infographic and booklet that outline how they went about this, so that the same process can be replicated in other areas.

Improving NHS services for people with learning disabilities: My Life My Choice is a self-advocacy organisation, in Oxfordshire, run by and for people with learning disabilities. It has carried out a number of projects that have been successful in making sure the voices of people with learning disabilities are heard and respected within the NHS. They have shared their stories of success in this timeline of films, blogs and images so that others can learn from their experiences.

Understanding young people’s experiences of health services: In Newcastle a young people’s Healthwatch group has been developed to understand children and young people’s experiences of using health and social care services. It has highlighted that dental care and mental health services are priorities for young people and that they need easily accessible information. The young people’s group has produced promotional resources to show how it is helping to shape dental services in Newcastle.

Giving young people with epilepsy a voice: Young Epilepsy has been working with children and young people with epilepsy to better understand their experiences of using health and wider services, and to enable them to influence the care they receive.  Working together with their project partners, and informed by the perspectives of service users, they produced a report that recommends integrating services across sectors and, above all, placing the child or young person at the centre. Using drawings and animations, the children and young people have developed a film to explain how they have been involved and had their say.

Gathering views to understand the impact of services: The NeuroMuscular Centre provides a range of services for people living with Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Each year it involves service-users in a social audit; asking their opinions about the impact the centre has had on their lives. By doing this the centre can understand the difference it is making and ensure it is meeting the needs of its service users. Service-users have produced a film that explains more about the social audit and why it’s important. Alongside this they have produced an easy to understand summary of the audit and are sharing the findings in a number of ways, including through social media..

Self-advocate ‘super heroes’ leading the way in good practice: A self-advocates forum for people with learning disabilities in York is speaking up on issues that affect them. The forum has been working with a range of organisations to develop good practice and highlight the importance of involving people with learning disabilities in the health services they use. They have developed a comic book, featuring super-hero advocates who save the day and make positive changes to healthcare services and information.

Working with learning disability advocates to develop services: A team of self-advocates living with learning disabilities has been getting involved with local health services in Hull. The Hull ‘Self-advocates Forum, supported by Mencap, gives its views and suggestions, on a range of healthcare subjects, so that products and services can be more useful to people living with a learning disability. They show the impact their work is having in a short film about a project with the Wellbeing team at the Hull City Healthcare Partnership, which has resulted in the development of a new ‘health check’ booklet.

Improving mental health outcomes in Brighton and Hove: Mind Brighton and Hove’s ‘Live’ project is all about improving the wellbeing of people with mental health issues through enabling them to get their views heard to improve services. The project consulted with people from across Brighton and Hove to help develop the city-wide ‘Happiness Strategy’, alongside other local engagement groups.  In this short film they explain how they went about this and the positive outcomes the project is already having.