An innovative outreach project delivered by Hywel Dda University Health Board has achieved a “significant positive impact” on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
Launched in March 2021, the outreach project has seen a team of community workers reach out to ethnic minority people living in the area to help tackle the health inequalities they experience. Initially it aimed to address the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on ethnic minority communities.
The project was made possible by a £75,000 grant awarded by NHS Charities Together to Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board. It was set up in response to recommendations in a Welsh Government report on tackling health inequalities experienced by ethnic minority communities.
Helen Sullivan, the health board’s Head of Partnerships, Diversity and Inclusion, said the project has helped to break down barriers between ethnic minority communities and healthcare.
“In this first year, the outreach team has made a significant positive impact on both communities and individuals,” said Helen.
“The team has supported people to gain access to a range of health services and receive key health messages in their own language.
“The team has also supported people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations – a vitally important service given the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on those from ethnic minority communities.”
The outreach work has been warmly received by ethnic minority communities in the area. For example, the Llanelli Multi-Cultural Network extended
“a huge thanks to the outreach team from Hywel Dda Health Board for all amazing support given to our members from diverse communities; this team is working hard, so pleased that we are able to work in partnership to benefit our community members”.
Specific achievements of the project include:
- Increased uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination among ethnic minority communities
- Increased access to health care services and communication support (including interpreter services)
- Wellbeing walks for women from ethnic minority communities which encouraged peer support and combated loneliness and isolation
- Improved connections with Traveller communities
- Increased visibility of service providers in the community.
Jo McCarthy, Deputy Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said:
“What has been very positive about the outreach project is that we have been able to learn so much about how best to deliver healthcare to our various communities.
“The team reached out and engaged with groups to find out about the challenges and barriers they experience in accessing healthcare, and to ensure steps were taken to address the issues.”
Helen Sullivan added:
“The team will continue to build on the existing links with other agencies and partners, and work to reach out to even more communities, groups, and individuals.”
For more details about the project please email: [email protected]