Partnership working moves forward in Blackburn

CLAHRC’s Resident Advisers involved in our public health programme of work in Blackburn’s Neighbourhood for Learning (part Wensleyfold and Mill Hill) recently met with representatives from Blackburn with Darwen Council and other local stakeholders.  The aim was to share the findings of local enquiries they had conducted and discuss how to move forward in partnership to help build the resilience of people who live and work in the area and of services delivered in the neighbourhood.  

Dilwara Ali, the local Facilitator for the CLAHRC’s Community Research and Engagement Network who has been co-ordinating the resident advisors, said:  “These resident advisers have been on a journey building skills and confidence in listening to the community. Now we want our partners to tap into them as a resource and respond to what they have found out so far.”
CLAHRC’s Resident Advisers talked to members of the community and identified   low numbers accessing local facilities (e.g. local parks) and council facilities and fly tipping in wasteland areas. 

Respondents mentioned a lack of confidence and not having someone with whom to discuss barriers to using local resources.  Podcasts, presentations and board displays were used to convey these findings and the journey that resident advisors and the other stakeholders are on in the Neighbourhood for Learning.

Retired teacher Freda Clayton (pictured) joined the programme as a Resident Adviser after discovering that her local district was one of the most deprived areas in the country and felt she had to do something. Freda said: “I never thought I’d be doing street interviews, taking photos and presenting findings about my local area but I feel passionate about doing something. We have a huge rubbish dumping problem. I’m enjoying the experience as I feel I am helping make a change.”

Ruth Young Public Health Research and Development Manager at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: “It is important residents are part of a system promoting health and wellbeing with social movement at its heart. It may be that some of our community initiatives including volunteering could be changed and then evaluated for impact…We welcome this opportunity to work together.

Ben Barr, part of the CLAHRC team supporting the Improving Public Health theme and Senior Clinical Lecturer in Applied Public Health Research, also presented findings from the CLAHRC NWC Household Health Survey. This was conducted in 2016 in ten neighbourhoods across the North West Coast area and highlights some of the social and health inequalities experienced by people living in this area of Blackburn. He commented: “The findings from this survey can help people here today identify something they would like to change in the area, the impact of which can be evaluated”.

It was agreed that a Local Oversight Group involving residents, representatives from the council and people from other sectors should be set up.  This group will meet monthly and make a final decision on the issues to be addressed and to oversee the evaluation.

More articles     Posted on: 25 August 2017