Working together to give seldom heard groups a voice
Featured in the photograph are: Dawn Pearson (CCG Engagement Lead) on the far left, then the Community Voices volunteers along the front: Sadaf, Fakrah, Shazia, Salma, Farzana, Shumaila and Noor-Jehan, with Zubair Mayet (CCG Engagement Manager) behind in the middle and Rashad Bokhari (HPCA) on the far right.
NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG works with, and supports, a number of local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, including around 60 ‘Community Voices’.
Community Voices work in the voluntary and community sector and are trained to engage with the local population on the CCG’s behalf. They talk to people, and listen to their views, about changes and developments in their healthcare. These valuable individuals give communities a louder voice and help to make sure that health services are developed in response to the needs of local people.
The CCG, with the support of ‘VAC – Improving Local Lives Greater Huddersfield’ – a local organisation that works with third sector groups, provides training for all its Community Voices. This training helps the volunteers further develop their knowledge and skills in relation to the engagement and consultation activities they undertake on our behalf. Seven female volunteers from the Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance (HPCA) successfully completed this training before Christmas.
The HPCA, based in Birkby, is a community led organisation which offers a range of support programmes that help to improve life opportunities for the disadvantaged members of the community through education, employment and active participation in civic life.
The training has greatly increased the confidence of these HPCA volunteers. The women now feel better prepared to engage with seldom heard groups, and to make sure these groups participate in the work of CCG.
Rashad Bokhari, Chief Operating Officer with the HCPA, has a background that includes education, community development, organisational development and people development. He praises the effectiveness of the training and has seen for himself the women’s increased confidence. Although they are HPCA volunteers, the women now also feel ‘qualified’ to be able to represent sections of the community that often go unheard.
“We asked for this training to be delivered in community language and as a result, the participants were able to have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The benefits of having Community Voices trained in a community language means that we will no longer have ‘hard to reach communities’, all communities will be accessible. The women feel empowered as Community Voices and are now eager to carry out engagement work on behalf of the CCG.”
Any voluntary, community or social enterprise groups in the Greater Huddersfield area who would like more details about this project should email Zubair Mayet, the CCG’s Engagement Manager, at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or groups can contact Alan Duncan, Engagement Lead at ‘VAC – Improving Local Lives Greater Huddersfield’ via email to: email@example.com or by telephoning: 01422 431093.
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