‘for people living in Blackpool Far North what are the main things that affect people’s health and well-being and what can be done about them?’
Over the last 12 months we have worked with Public Health at Blackpool Council and the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group to design and deliver three Citizens Inquiries on health and wellbeing. In late January the findings from the two latest Inquiries were launched in the beautiful surroundings of the Winter Gardens – a fitting end to 3 months’ great work from 36 residents of Blackpool Far North and Blackpool South facilitated by Pete Bryant and Nick Beddow from Shared Future.
The two groups met separately each Thursday, each of the sessions lasting some two and a half hours. During these informal and relaxed sessions a diverse group of local residents were encouraged to think and talk about well-being and health in their neighbourhood. A number of experts (‘commentators’) were invited to come and speak at some of the sessions to add knowledge and to help them explore how things could be changed.
“We had some excellent speakers in from local agencies, and some of us residents are now about to start training so that we can run some community activities in our local area.
I would 100% recommend participating in similar projects to anyone – who knows, maybe we will even have some effect on shaping the future of Blackpool South”
One of the participants from the Blackpool South Health and Wellbeing Inquiry.
Following an in-depth grilling of the commentators the groups decided upon the recommendations they wanted to put forward and prioritised them using a voting system. All recommendations, irrespective of the number of votes received, were included. The recommendations were presented to over 40 professionals from a wide range of service providers within Blackpool at the launch event.
“Its been an exhilarating three months working with a group of 36 Blackpool residents who responded to a letter through their front door. They have shared stories with each other, challenged each other and built consensus on what needs to be done to improve health and wellbeing in the area. Its been a privilege to watch as they have formed relationships, built confidence and asked not only ‘what are you doing about this?’ but also ‘what can we do about this?”
Peter Bryant: Facilitator from Shared Future
We would like to say a huge thank you to the members of the Citizens Inquiries, who placed their trust in the process and us as facilitators. This diverse, inspiring group of local people came together week after week to share their opinions and experiences with each other and us in the hope that their efforts, openness and commitment might make a difference to their own communities.
“In the past we have done things ‘to’ our residents with the services that we have commissioned and provided but for me the key thing that we needed to do going forward is that we don’t just pay lip service to our residents views but that we actually have a meaningful and sustained conversation with our residents over a number of weeks to really understand what residents lives are like.
The key thing is that we want to co-design / co-produce the actions and deliver these actions with our residents. This is a journey – it doesn’t end here I want to work with you to deliver these recommendations, to work collaboratively and have an on-going dialogue; this is just the start of a journey. We as Blackpool need to work together collaboratively, we can do this – we are greater than the sum of our parts.”
Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health at Blackpool Council, speaking at the Launch Event at The Winter Gardens.
We are now well underway with the fourth Inquiry with residents from Blackpool East. The reports of the Blackpool Far North and Blackpool South Health and Wellbeing inquiries are available for download below. The first inquiry, held in the Central area of Blackpool, is described, and report available, by following this link.