“The solution lies within communities.”  

Systems need to stop expecting people and communities to trust them and begin trusting people and communities. Who knows what communities want more than those that live and work in those communities every day? We have seen remarkable creativity, confidence, collaboration, and positive outcomes from the COVID-19 Community Champions scheme, and this demonstrates what can be done when communities are empowered. We will look towards an Asset Based Community Development approach that builds on the strengths and gifts that already exist within our communities and help to mobilize individuals, associations, and institutions to come together and really thrive. 

What good looks like

  • Invest in community development approaches that empower people and communities to build capacity and confidence. 

Case studies

On April 20, we teamed up with the University of Wolverhampton and Healthwatch Wolverhampton on their week-long health campaign.

Our involvement team hosted a drop-in session listening to students about their health matters and experiences of health care as a student in Wolverhampton. One of the recurring themes was how much students would like more work placements in the NHS but find these very hard to find. Some spoke about health inequalities and found our roles at the ICB interesting. Since then, we discussed the with OneWolverhampton who have coordinated a work experience programme with the University, rotating around different roles across the ICB, City of Wolverhampton Council and Royal Wolverhampton Trust to get a flavour for the wide variety of work across the place-based partnership.

The first students enrolled on the course in February. Cherelle talks about her experience and the impact being part of the cohort has had on her and her future.

 

Research has shown women from Black African and Caribbean communities are known to develop breast cancer at a much younger age compared to white women and seeking help and health advice at an earlier stage can contribute significantly to reducing inequalities in breast cancer outcomes.

Using funds awarded by West Midlands Cancer Alliance, the ICB involvement team has worked with ICS partners to design and commission a two-stage project to understand the barriers to attending screening appointments and co-design solution focused initiatives.

In stage one, the ICB has commissioned local VCSE groups and organisations working with Black African and Caribbean women to host conversations in places and ways that are familiar and comfortable. Recognising our VCSE and Healthwatch partners as the ‘trusted voices’ in many communities throughout the Black Country is one of our 11 involvement principles. They are best placed to host these conversations and it's important that we support them if we’re to improve the health and happiness of our population.

The University of Wolverhampton is leading the co-design process and the conversations and insight gathered in stage one will inform a set of ‘people powered’ experiments that are co-designed by Black African and Caribbean women, health and care professionals, and commissioners across the Black Country.

 

Across the Black Country the ICB Cancer Team have been working hard to help improve screening rates and better outcomes for cancer patients.

On a daily basis the team go out in communities to raise awareness on national screening programmes, cancer signs and symptoms and to support in breaking down myths and barriers around cancer. The team have worked with many different groups across the Black Country and since April 2023 have raised awareness in over 120 settings/groups with total contacts and conversations reaching over 2500 people. The feedback and involvement of local people has been well received.

A big part of the work achieved is the Cancer Champion Training Programme. This training is open not just to healthcare professionals but also people out in the community. It aims to support early diagnosis of cancer, address some of the health inequalities and will give participants the knowledge and confidence to have conversations about cancer prevention, myth busting and early diagnosis.

There are more than 240 Cancer Champions who are helping make changes for the better and now it’s your turn. If you’d like to find out more about how to become a Cancer Champion or join a training session, please email Kassandra.styche@nhs.net or Lesley.fellows@nhs.net.

The ICB Cancer Team have a great relationship with Macmillan, and our team are funded by them, and they continue to work together to improve the health and happiness of people living with and beyond cancer.

The Macmillan Support Line offers confidential support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. If you need to talk, Macmillan will listen. Call freephone 0808 808 00 00.                   

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