Walsall Together Partnership has been successful in securing £97,000 funding to develop a team of up to 20 Community Connectors to help reduce health inequalities and improve outcomes for people in Walsall.
Community Connectors will be recruited based on lived experience and will work with the borough’s most vulnerable communities to help co-produce health and wellbeing services based on what matters most to them and their community.
Michelle McManus, Acting Programme Director for Walsall Together, said: “I am delighted we have secured this funding to enable us to employ people from our communities to design services which are developed based on what actually matters most to them not what we think they need.
“If we really want to reduce inequalities and remove barriers that prevent people from accessing health, care and wellbeing support, then we really need to be working with our most disadvantaged communities to find out how we can do this.
“As a partnership we have so many passionate people who are all committed to driving forward with this work, building even stronger relationships with our communities and developing services which will truly begin to bridge the inequalities gap.”
The Community Connectors programme is part of Core20Plus5, a national NHS England approach to support the reduction of health inequalities and builds on many other community-based initiatives recognising the importance of connecting people with lived experience with decision-makers.
The connectors will be managed by Healthwatch Walsall and will use their own experiences to help them in building connections with local communities, identifying gaps and opportunities to develop new networks based on what they learn. Led by communities and individuals themselves, they will work with people who are interested in improving existing health, care and wellbeing services and co-producing more personalised ones.
Simon Fogell, Chief Executive of Engaging Communities Solutions CIC which delivers Healthwatch Walsall, said: “We are really pleased to continue to be involved in supporting the Walsall Together Partnership by recruiting and managing this new team of Community Connectors. Our key role is to ensure the citizen voice is heard. Being part of this project will enable us to empower communities directly to be able to say what is important to them.
“Recruiting Community Connectors from within communities is a great way of making sure that we are reaching those most in need, often living with long standing health inequalities, linking them to appropriate services, learning more about the challenges they face and how we can work as a partnership to address these.”
If you would be interested in becoming a Community Engagement/Volunteer Facilitator supporting the Core20PLUS Connectors programme visit https://healthwatchwalsall.co.uk/job-vacancies/