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Case Study: Hangleton and Knoll Project

21st February 2020

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How do you better meet your community needs….. by listening to your community?

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The Hangleton and Knoll Project (HKP), working with local GP practices and the local CCG realised that there was a mutual community benefit in working beyond the normal practice-based Patient Participation Groups (PPG). By creating a single forum that supported a cluster of GP practices they supported the community to identify their own priorities and work together with their local surgeries.

HKP was created forty years ago to reduce inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of all the population it covers. Through providing support to community groups with a wide range of needs and interests and their extensive networks in the community, they are ideally placed to bring together a range of people with an interest in health and wellbeing.

The Hangleton and Knoll Project’s award-winning approach to patient engagement is an excellent example of how volunteers can shape the plans for and delivery of their local health services.

HKP saw there was a benefit in bringing the community together to talk about wider issues relating to health and wellbeing rather than being practice specific.

Through stimulating an interest in how health services can be managed for a whole community HKP have been able to recruit and train volunteer Health Champions representing different surgeries and diverse communities of the area. The Champions work with the health forum to highlight local need but also work with their own community groups to gain that crucial intelligence and insight that is needed to improve health provision.

Health Champions are recruited through an asset-based approach, looking at an individual’s interest, skills and experience. Champions are supported to get as involved as they would like in the operation of the forum and wider initiatives that have been developed.

Health work that has been supported
HKP has supported the development of a number of community projects through the Health Champion work:-

The S Card Scheme – This project built on a need identified by youth health champions around affordability and accessibility of period products locally. Benfield Valley Healthcare Hub was interested in working with young people and HKP to work out a solution and the S card scheme was born. S cards are now available in all local GP surgeries, Libraries and Community Centres and can be exchanged with no questions asked for a bag of period products.

Following a fundraising campaign supported by the local supermarkets, the cost of this scheme has been covered. The project was rolled out to local Bengali and Arabic women with outreach and translated materials

Menopause Project – A HKP Health champion from the Indian community worked with local women to determine their need for specific advice and information on the menopause. Working together with a local female GP and HKP staff, we delivered a workshop attended by 30 women on myth-busting the menopause.

Ear Irrigation Campaign – This work was led by Health Champions who wanted to reverse the CCGs decision to stop funding practices to undertake ear irrigation. This led to the withdrawal of the service locally and much inconvenience to patients. Following Health Champions intervention, working locally with their surgeries, the CCG reinstated the funding for this work to be delivered.

Singing for Better Health – This was set up after the need for an accessible to all group was identified. This group welcomes people with physical disabilities, and those with memory loss, alongside everyone else who loves to sing. Between 25 and 30 people attend weekly with volunteers continuing to provide refreshments and to fundraise for the singing leader.

Social Ping – Health Champions working in partnership with HKP and Brighton Table Tennis club set up a social table tennis group for older people at Hangleton Community Centre based on the need for more affordable social and fitness activities for older people. Recent developments have included an intergenerational element with older people coaching teenagers

What have they achieved?

Since the development of the West Area Health Forum and the Health Champions HKP have:-

  • Recruited 14 Health Champions
  • Set up 4 local PPG groups working on issues like website accessibility, redesign of appointment systems and community parties.
  • HKP Health Champ chairs Brighton and Hove PPG Network
  • Supported 2 local commissions, 111 and Wellbeing service
  • Supported 2 sustainable community groups
  • Supported 10 Health Champions to access training from the Local Authority and CCG
  • Ensured diversity of voices from across our whole community, young people, older people, people with disabilities, BAME people and people with English as a second language
  • Supported Champions to engage at the level they are interested in, whether that’s attending meetings and feeding back, setting up surgery based projects or helping their community.

The Benefits
This approach to place-based community engagement has produced a number of key benefits.

  • Diversity/Inclusion – By attracting a wider range of people, who attend the forum, HKP has increased the diversity of voices that are contributing to health service planning and supported inclusion through the delivery of its initiatives
  • Integration – The forum has provided an opportunity for a range of health professionals to come together with residents to understand different organisational needs to co-produce plans.
  • System focus – Through focusing on place rather than organisations the forum has been able to give members an insight into some of the drivers around population health that impact their community and [health] services.

The work that HKP has done, along with their community, demonstrates that there is an appetite for volunteers to play a major part in influencing how services are planned for and provided. The success in creating an inclusive health forum is dependent on having the time and space with system support/backing to develop high-quality local relationships and networks. Although these take time to build, the level of trust that accompanies them means that a more honest conversation can happen around health priorities and needs and a long term vision for improving health is encouraged.