Project to get voices heard

Last year we launched the Your Voice Fund, and awarded four small grants to local organisations which will run projects with their service users.

These projects will help us gather the views of people whose experiences we don’t hear enough about, in particular, people with learning disabilities, people from LGBTQ+ communities, young people, black, asian and minority ethnic communities and people living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes.

Northumberland County Blind Association will be holding workshops and focus groups with 150 visually impaired people, bringing people’s experiences and views on health and social care services together in order to influence and inform service providers and decision makers.

Northumberland County Council Youth Council will use the grant to create wallet cards, digital graphics and posters to share with schools, youth and health settings to promote self-care and mental health support services that are available to children and young people.

A Creative Café will be held at Headway Arts in Blyth, for 30 people with a learning disability and their carers to discuss their experience of the healthcare system in a safe and supportive environment.  The event will be filmed and people’s thoughts presented through a video piece.

Being Woman, based in Ashington and Blyth, will also use the grant to support a conversation café activity called ‘KITES – when you are your own voice’. Here, 50 people from various ethnic backgrounds and at risk of social isolation can share ideas, thoughts and experiences of health and social care services which will be reported back to those running and paying for services.

Healthwatch Northumberland Project Coordinator Derry Nugent says “We’re really happy to work with these local organisations who can help us listen to the care experiences of those we don’t hear from very much. These projects will help us share people’s voices with the service providers and decision makers and help make services better for residents of Northumberland. “

Fareeha Usman, Founder of Being Woman says “This project will help underrepresented communities have their say on health and social care services, in a safe environment. The KITES cafe will help us remove barriers and promote equal access to local services to the migrant and BAME population in Northumberland.”

Allie Walton-Robson, Creative Director at Headway Arts says “We’re inviting people to come along to our Creative Café in Blyth on Thursday 21 May for a nice cup of tea, a chat and a chilled out creative workshop. This time we are working with Healthwatch Northumberland and focusing our chat on healthcare to offer disabled people a real chance to provide feedback on their experiences. On the day we will be welcoming people along to enjoy our beginners painting workshop using lovely vibrant colours and to try out print making with our PrintAble artists. It’s a relaxing session and also a time to talk about experiences whilst feeling supported to do so.”

We look forward to sharing the results of the project with you later in the year.