Event: Unleashing Healthy Communities

| Anna Eaton

21st June, Unleashing Healthy Communities Report Launch

On Thursday 21st June Helen and I spent a warm summer evening at the Bromley by Bow Centre in Tower Hamlets to celebrate the release of their Unleashing Healthy Communities report. The report is the outcome of two years of research into the Bromley by Bow model and its efficacy.

The report launch was brought to life by a colourful exhibition of artefacts, quotes and printed stories. Each piece was tied together by a sequence of coloured ribbons representing connections. The visual exhibition showcased what matters to local people, exploring dreams of what “a good life” looks like.

Many of you will have heard of the Bromley by Bow Centre, a charity that combines a neighbourhood hub with a medical practice and a community research project. Their community-based approach to health and wellbeing has received lots of recognition over the years.

This new report “presents the stories from Bromley by Bow’s past, reflects on the present and looks to the future of [the] community”.

Our favourite bits of the report and launch are:

Methodology – they describe their methodology as “research without clipboards”. This is an approach that we adopt in our work and is therefore close to our hearts. One quote that really jumped out at us when reading about their research and workshops was: “People want to see practical change in exchange for their views”.

This is something we have come across in our conversations across the country. If people give up their time, thoughts and ideas, they want to know and see the impact it will have. If they don’t, this can in part add to consultation fatigue and a growing sense of distrust between people and organisations. We’ll be writing more soon about the Unleashing Healthy Communities research methodology as we think it deserves a whole article – so watch this space.

Looking at then and now – the report is a wonderful resource for those looking at community based health and care approaches. It offers up stories of the past, relaying the different eras the Bromley by Bow model has gone through, as well as addressing staff realities and the community context.

Outcomes – it details the core outcomes that people in Bromley by Bow valued most in their lives, which are:

  • Feeling good about myself
  • Connection to others
  • Giving and getting back

These resonate strongly with the things we heard in Dudley earlier this year about what is important to people. The report refers to these as “growth outcomes” and goes on to describe factors that feed them. The “growth outcomes” are underpinned by “survival outcomes”, a set of basic needs that must be met as a foundation of security and stability.

Visuals and design – the report launch event and the summary and methodology booklet have a wonderful scrap book feel that mirrors the story and art-based approach they have taken for this research. The exhibition and the booklets reflect the rich tapestry of experiences, ideas and insights that have come from the centre and its community. Design can sometimes be overlooked or overpower a report or project, but we love how the Unleashing Healthy Communities look and feel allows the report and research to be accessible, interesting and tell a whole story of its own.

You can follow the work of Bromley by Bow on Twitter @Bromley_by_Bow and their insights team @Insights_BBBC

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