Delivering as a CCG

Engaging seldom heard communities

Engaging seldom heard communities


During 2017/18 we worked with two VCS organisations on a New and Emerging Communities project. This project was commissioned through Nottingham City CCG’s Community Partners Programme.

Working with other partners, we identified a gap in our understanding of some communities in the city and conurbation. Specifically, we identified that we had little intelligence on how different Eastern European communities and some African communities accessed services, experienced healthcare and preferred to be engaged. We identified two organisations that already had good relationships with these communities and commissioned them to undertake engagement on our behalf.

 Engagement activity

A steering group was established to support the two organisations delivering the engagement. Each organisation recruited a number of volunteers from within the communities to be engaged. A key part of the project was to ensure that the engagement was delivered by people who understood and could relate to their own community. A training and induction programme was provided for all volunteers and the steering group produced a set of engagement materials to help gather feedback. These were a survey and a template for interviews and case studies.

23 volunteers were recruited to deliver the engagement. Overall, the project received feedback from 186 people from across different nationalities. The engagement was carried out across a range of community activities and events.

Our findings

The engagement provided a range of useful insights, including how the wider lifestyle factors of some of the communities engaged affected their ability to engage with health services and how their background and culture affected their perception of it. The key themes were:

  • Many people did not understand the UK health system, processes and rules. There was a general lack of awareness of how the different elements of the health system worked and how they fitted together.
  • The engagement highlighted a lack of trust between some communities and the health system in general, with people feeling that they are being judged because of their nationality, culture or English language skills.
  • The complexity of language barriers are often underestimated and have impacts that is far wider than a need for interpreters.
  • The wider lifestyle factors of many of the people engaged make it difficult for them to access health appointments, for example because of insecure employment with uncertain shift patterns

What happened next?
The volunteers recruited for the project have expressed a commitment to continue working with the CCG to support further engagement within their communities. We are currently planning work to promote cervical screenings among Eastern European women in the city, working with the volunteers to help us.

Much of the feedback received through the project related to engagement with primary care staff and clinicians. We are holding a celebration event to share the findings of the engagement and to bring primary care staff and clinicians together with members of the communities engaged, as part of a process to promote two-way cultural understanding.

Please see the reports below:


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