Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative

Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative is a community led health promotion initiative. It works with older people from specific communities, and empowers them to improve health and quality of life for themselves and their peers.

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How it started

The Healthy Communities Collaborative started in March 2005. It was funded by Perth and Kinross Council, Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership and NHS Tayside. The project had support from the National Primary Care Development Team which had experience of similar work in England.

Three communities with populations of approximately 10,000 were selected and work began to recruit local older people and representatives from organisations working in the area.

Partners

  • Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership
  • Perth and Kinross Council
  • residents from selected communities aged over 50
  • Community Learning and Development
  • sheltered housing wardens
  • Perth and Kinross Leisure
  • voluntary sector

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Process

For each new area, the staff team first speaks to local people at community groups and to residents in sheltered housing lounges. People are asked to identify what is good about the area they live in, what could be improved and what is missing. This gives an insight into the issues that might need to be addressed.

An event is then held in a local venue to answer questions arising from the consultation. This may feature advice about transport, environmental issues, and information on benefits, care, policing and safety.

From this event, local older people are recruited to a ‘local team’ and invited to attend a one day ‘learning workshop’. This gives the team members an opportunity to learn about the process and to understand the issues to be addressed.

The initiative focuses on a topic selected by the older people, at present ‘mental health and wellbeing in later life’. This topic focuses on the following five barriers to good mental wellbeing in later life:

  • poverty
  • physical health
  • relationships
  • participation in meaningful activity
  • discrimination

Team members identify issues and come up with ideas to try in their local communities. This way of working encourages everyone involved in planning an intervention to help carry out the event and then study any issues and make any alterations. Work is constantly evaluated, ensuring each intervention is tailored to meet the need of each individual community.

Each team meets approximately once a month and part of the meeting is dedicated to any intervention carried out since the last meeting. This gives team members an opportunity to evaluate the work and make any changes.

This opportunity to evaluate and then influence future work empowers team members to be concerned about other issues within their communities and build on successes.

Team members act as a bridge between services and their community. This is an efficient method of spreading information as each team member shares their knowledge with their communities.
Ideas often come from team members and have included lunch clubs, gentle exercise groups, pampering events and many others.

The success of these events has, in many occasions, been due to the support from other services.

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Outcomes

This initiative has led to a number of self-sustaining groups. There are over 200 older people involved in local teams which have empowered them to look out for each other, building community resilience.

Team members themselves speak of how much they enjoy their involvement with the Healthy Communities Collaborative and some report how it has helped them cope with specific issues. Team members have also enjoyed training in First Aid, Food Hygiene and Bereavement Training.

Social Care Officers bring their clients to the social groups initiated from this work, promoting social inclusion.

Evaluation

Funding for an external evaluation was secured from the Joint Improvement Team. 'Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative, the First Six Years' was published in April 2011.

Lessons learned

Every community is unique and time has to be taken to consult. We have to gain the trust of those involved and reassure them we will not “parachute in” to their community, set something up then leave.

Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative strives to compliment existing activities and groups. One of the first tasks of a new team is a mapping exercise to ensure an intervention would not be in competition with existing groups.

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What's next for this project?

At present 14 communities have Healthy Communities Collaborative teams. Both Perth and Kinross Council and Perth and Kinross Community Health Partnership are keen that all communities have access to a team.

At present, we are working to gather information on issues around leg ulcers and additional access to technology, as requested by community members.

Contact

Jackie Doe
Project Manager
Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative
Moncrieff Ward
Perth Royal Infirmary
Taymount Terrace
Perth PH1 1NX

Tel: 01738 473718
Email: jackie.doe@nhs.net

 

 

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