Grants from Wandsworth NHS have been distributed by LINk over a two year period to community and health condition groups like Word Up! to help them publicise their health concerns. In all 17 Seldom Heard Groups have received funding of up to £2,000 each.
“The Seldom Heard Group’s project has been a two-way learning process between community groups and the NHS. Instead of us just working independently it has opened up an ongoing dialogue between service users and providers.” Dr Sian Job, CCG lead for public and patient involvement.
The overwhelming issues that have emerged from the project are the difficulties some groups have in accessing services and communicating with health care providers. But things are changing. Clinical commissioners and health trusts have learned to listen and the voice of seldom heard groups has become louder. As a result public and patient involvement is being built into the day to day processes of the NHS and this project should help to improve health outcomes in the borough for groups such as people with learning difficulties.
Wandsworth Care Alliance (WCA) is a small charity that works to help people have their voice heard and inform the development and monitoring of Social and Health Care Service in the borough of Wandsworth.
The Word Up! newspaper project was initially part of WCA’s Learning Disabilities Partnership Project, which works between different groups and people who plan, give and use Learning Disability services in Wandsworth.
From July 2010 until January 2011 WCA have helped Word Up! to establish themselves by offering a range of financial, operational and administrative support, advice and training, office access, including a dedicated Project Manager. WCA also provided £5,000 seed money which was used to pay for a trainer, the printers and the use of a graphic designer for 2 issues of the newspaper, as well as being able to purchase equipment and hold launches and events.
From January 2011 Word Up! constituted themselves as an unincorporated voluntary organisation and in February 2011 established their winter edition of the newspaper. They also managed to raise £2,000 to pay for that publication, and they opened their own bank account.
In December 2011, the Word Up! Editorial Team voted to launch themselves as an independent and self supporting voluntary group, and the group have rapidly took ownership.
For more information visit: http://wca.btck.co.uk/
The University of Roehampton is proud to have been associated with Word Up from the beginning of the project. Word Up is an important community partner providing the university with insight into the lives of local people. Jackie Brown worked alongside the editorial team sharing some ideas from a disability studies perspective. Jackie has remained a friend of the group ever since.