The 21st Agenda Health programme was a three year programme funded by the Lottery Community Fund. The project was driven with the aim to support the reduction of levels of poor health amongst BAME communities in North Trafford where poor health, poverty and ethnicity coincide. Voice of BME-T held two related projects in addition to two end of year community seminars which showcased the progress around this project. Below are brief details on the several programmes/events we held in order to target poor health across the BME North Trafford community.
- Health and Wellbeing Training Programme:
In the second year, two cohorts were enrolled on to our 10 weeks training course held in partnership with Trafford College. The first cohort ran over the months of March 2021 and 2nd course ran in September 2021. All attendees total achieved accredited qualifications from Trafford College- in addition they increased their wellbeing, learning, knowledge and additional accomplishments while on the course. VBMET designed this training programme to target BME residents of Trafford with the main title of ‘Inspiring Health and Wellbeing Training Course’. The aim was to remove any existing barriers that would stop an individual to enhance their knowledge and skillsets in improving their wellbeing. Our
first cohort was mainly delivered online during lockdown, then following government guidelines we followed on with a face to face celebration event in May 2021. The next cohort started in September 2021 and finished in November followed by an end of course celebration event to appreciate people’s commitment to the course and commemorate the completion of their hard work. They were provided with small gifts and a copy of a book on confidence and motivation to encourage and keep their momentum on an inspiring finish. This was a special day that celebrated their success and acknowledged their qualification that supported their CVs.
This was a great achievement for their adjustments under covid and showed their resilience during these trying times. They were able to accomplish upskilling in using digital skills and to start and complete a full training programme in this current climate. The delivery allowed for a good balance of knowledge, expertise and insight from both Trafford College and trainers from VBMET this ensured that the attendees left feeling empowered in having their needs met. This has been a challenging time as some lost their loved ones and were going through bereavement and this course helped them to focus on something positive in their life and to keep them going.
- Attendees wellbeing was significantly improved (from 15% to 70%) which was monitored through WEMWBS -wellbeing scale.
- Attendees increased their physical activity between 30 – 90 minutes per week.
- Knowledge on healthy eating habits was increased and also people adapted good cooking and eating habits (updates were posted and comments on the WhatsApp group chat).
- Social prescribers and care navigators sign posted people onto the course which helped people to recover from trauma and gain their confidence back. With this lottery funding we were able to ease some of the application and criteria processes from being onerous to provide attendees the opportunity to access the course with reduced efforts. (Anecdotal data) This platform has provided the opportunity to increase the skills of every individual in some way. The tutor used VBMET zoom platform for the first time to deliver the course to the respective students.60% increased their physical activity from none to mild. Whereas 40%increased their physical activity from mild to moderate (in accordance to NHS recommendations).
- CANCER AWARENESS AND WELLBEING EVENTS
Cancer is still a sensitive subject and not many people still feel comfortable to talk on the subject. Therefore, Voice of BME adapted a different approach which was to reach out and engage when holding some of the event. We found that people engaged more in an event where ‘wellbeing’ was mentioned instead of explicitly stating ‘Cancer Awareness’. In 2021, we managed to deliver a combination of both virtual and face to face events.
Bowel Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in UK and the second biggest cancer killer. Over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in UK (Bowel Cancer UK). In females in the UK, bowel cancer is the 34 most common cancer (CRUK). Voice of BME delivered an awareness event using virtual medium which was well attended. Greater Manchester Engagement Lead from the Answer Cancer programme, delivered the talk and mentioned the new FIT test along with the signs and symptoms.
Attendees were also informed about the lifestyle that could help to reduce the risk. Evaluation of the session showed that 98% attendees gained more knowledge on the subject. A few signed up to be GM Cancer Champions and agreed to share the message with their family and friends to create the ripple effect.
- AFRO-BOLLYFIT WOMEN EXERCISE:
The pandemic brought challenges for everyone in one way or another. Staying indoors made many of us to gain weight due to limited physical movement. This was a concern mentioned in the service users chat group a few times. Therefore, Voice of BME engaged a Bolly-fit instructor to deliver six zoom sessions in the month of July to August. This was well attended by women of all colours hence promoting community cohesion. This also provided women the platform to share their everyday physical activity in the chat group whilst encouraging each other for building in extra steps in the day. From this activity we engaged with 32 women and 90% of the attendees managed to increase their physical activity from mild to moderate level.
- WOMEN’S WELLBEING DAY- Breast Cancer Awareness:
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in women in England. Ethnic minority women are at greater risk of breast cancers with less favourable characteristics (British Journal of Cancer- 2021). Considering October is breast cancer awareness month, VBMET took the opportunity to hold a women’s wellbeing event at Limelight in 2021 with the caption of ‘Dress in Pink for breast cancer awareness’. This was a face-to-face event attended by 38 women of different ethnicities coming together under one agenda of women’s health and wellbeing. Breast cancer awareness was delivered by a trained Cancer Champion where it started of asking about women’s understanding and exploring with a mini quiz. This event offered a lot of fun in addition to breast cancer awareness; aromatherapy, hand massage, raffle prices, lunch and a valuable talk from the motivational speaker, were all the highlights on the day. This event provided a good opportunity for other local organisations to share their service offer with the attendees on the day.