Groundswell’s health promotion team are part of the Hammersmith and Fulham Homeless Health Partnership. Recently they won the first Health Equity Awards in North West London. Health Inreach Navigator Beryl tells us more.
I’m Beryl, Health In-reach Navigator with Groundswell, working across London with health and homelessness teams to offer people experiencing homelessness access to health services and information on site, in hostels, day centres and clinics.
The Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Homeless Health Partnership (including Groundswell, St Mungos and CLCH community nursing) was established September 2021 to develop a model post pandemic to deliver accessible health care to people experiencing homelessness in H&F. Together we created a new Community Hub for people experiencing homelessness. I’m pleased to be involved in every step of the project from celebrating a sink being put into the nurse’s clinic to trotting around local hostels to tell residents living there about the Hub and asking them what they’d like to see on offer there. At the Recovery College they offer digital skills courses, art activities, ESOL, a band lab and lots more…
At the heart of the Hub every Thursday is the nurse’s clinic, where people are offered time and space for to talk about their health concerns, can get treatment on the spot and access to health referrals. When I attend, I often support people to attend nurse consultations for the first time.
There is no typical afternoon at the Hub but here’s a quick summary of one Thursday this month….
Going into the Hub I said hello to two of the excellent artists who use the Recovery College, I checked in with Recovery Staff colleagues, went to see the nurse and the podiatrist who were on site to see how they’d like me to help manage their clinics. I explained I was rubbish at riding a bike to someone who’d come along to see the nurse, bringing his bike in with him…introduced him to the nurse and made sure he was comfortable.
I spoke with St Mungo’s Health Co-ordinator about what was on offer to people that afternoon, then as people came into the Hub, I chatted with them about their health and introduced them to Groundswell’s Homeless Health Peer Advocacy project where people with lived experience of homelessness support people currently experiencing homelessness to attend health appointments.
For those that wanted to see the nurse or podiatrist, I took a few details and managed the list of people who wanted to see them. I introduced people to the nurse and podiatrist so they would feel welcome and ease any concerns.
We try to be flexible and work together to ensure that people can access health services whilst at the same time accessing college activities they wanted to engage in.
I welcomed and spoke with some staff members working in hostels and the service users they arrived with who hadn’t been to the Hub before. I gave someone a bus ticket to get home and looked in on the Naxolene training taking place that day and supported someone who’d found it a bit much for them. I accompanied a person who was nervous to see the nurse they wanted me there for moral support and would not have seen the nurse without me.
Winning the award
I was chuffed when I found out that this partnership had been nominated for the Health Equity Awards. We were nominated for an outstanding achievement in removing barriers to achieving better health and wellbeing for people experiencing homelessness in Hammersmith and Fulham. We were delighted to win this award and remain committed to addressing health inequalities in North West London.
About the awards:
“A year on from the launch of the NW London inequality strategy, the first Health Equity Awards looked to celebrate people from across North West London who are doing their bit in understanding, and tackling, the barriers that create inequalities and can prevent fair access to health care. The winners represent the passion, kindness and drive of people in our area to make life better for others.” – NW London ICS