WHO ARE WE AND WHAT DO WE DO
We are a community group based in Rochdale that supports people from the BME and South Asian communities. Rochdale has a large South Asian and BME community at 14% of the total population, the majority of whom are of Pakistani, Kashmiri and Bengali heritage; our group has been established with wide support to address a particular need within this community and to strive to fill a shortfall in health provision. As the population ages there are a growing number of people various health conditions pertinent to the BME and South Asian communities. However, many services for these communities remain inappropriate and inaccessible; and the number of people from these communities accessing secondary care services is disproportionately low and is reflective of the types of services on offer.
Nothing is more important to us than listening. Our public consultation events allow you to express your views and to listen to what other people think.
If you have any concerns about the provision of and access to health and wellbeing services in the Rochdale area we really want to hear what you’ve got to say.
The better we understand your concerns, the better job we can doing of dealing with them.
Recent Government legislation focused on the ‘Big Society’ agenda and has included a strong emphasis on ‘Localism’ and localised services. In addition the White Paper ‘Liberating the NHS’, highlights a key role for effectively engaging local residents and communities in local service for Health and Social Care. Our organisation is ideally based within the local BME/South Asian community and the team are from the locality and are experienced in working within local communities and have many years of experience of working with and for statutory organisations and the public sector. The team draw on the experience and knowledge of the local communities:
- We have experience of engaging with the BME and South Asian community
- We can use the right techniques to engage with the community
- Use accessible venues in the local communities
- We have good and established links from the community, statutory organisations to ensure stakeholders are always involved.
- We have built relationships with local community workers and community representatives, GP’s, clinicians, medical specialists and other service providers.
- We understand the social-economical make up of the local communities and their diversity, cultural and linguistic issues.
If you’re from a south Asian background and you live in the UK, you’re more likely than people from other communities to have certain health conditions. This is also the case for some mixed-race people of south Asian descent. The term ‘South Asian’ refers to anyone of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Sri Lankan origin. While each of these communities has its own unique culture and background, they all share some common health issues.
According to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for Rochdale Borough, a large proportion of early deaths in Rochdale are caused by heart disease, digestive disease and cancer. It is further noted that people in the most deprived areas in the Borough can live 10 years less than those in the most affluent areas; and that around a quarter of Rochdale’s most disadvantaged groups are of Asian origin. Segmented in the MOSAIC groupings, there are increased levels of BME groups within the deprived categories.
The BHA (a UK Health and Social Care charity) published a report in May 2013 – ‘State of Health Black and Other Minority Groups’ it reviewed some of the major health conditions that are prevalent in BME groups. The report identified differences in health and established that further work needs to be undertaken in different local authority areas to reflect the needs of local populations.
It further stated that differences in health of BME groups, compared to the rest of the population, are well documented nationally. Such disparities are also evident across a number of risk factors for disease and disability such as smoking, obesity and lack of physical exercise. While there is much research published on the needs of BME groups in general, there is a lack of published evidence on initiatives which positively improve the health and wellbeing of BME people and such initiatives tend to be short term. Differences in the health of BME groups are most prominent in the following areas of health: mental health, cancer, heart disease and related illnesses such as stroke, Tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes.
The report concludes in stating there is a need for improved outreach to BME including South Asian communities using a range of methods and any programme of work should not be short term but a continuous programme of activity.
It should be recognised that voluntary and community organisations have had a significant role, over the years, in identifying particular health needs amongst BME/South Asian communities.