Working with local people, in ways they want, to reduce the 10 year inequality in life expectancy between Byker and places 20 minutes away.
About the project
If you live in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (made famous by cheeky chappies Ant and Dec) you can expect to live, on average, 10 years less than people 20 minutes away in the same city. This doesn't seem fair to me. There are a number of groups and charities already trying to improve health and wellbeing in the area - but people don't always know these projects exist, aren't confident in accessing them, or they don't always meet their exact needs.
As a resident in Byker, who loves the estate, I'd like to use my medical training to get involved in trying to make a difference here. I'd like to have the time to get to go and find out what people want, and how they want it - to find out what's working, and what's not, and to be able to signpost people to existing services and empower them to set up things they want which don't exist. I'm up for looking at any aspects of health promotion - mental health, employment, healthy eating, smoking cessation...and so much more.
What's the plan?
My dream is for this project to be based on three key principles:
1) - Outreach. Going TO people, to hear THEIR views, and not second-guessing what those might be.
2) - Partnership. Working with existing organisations who are providing amazing services, and other community groups who care about and love Byker.
3) - Second chances. And third chances, and fourth chances, and so on. I want to work with people who want to move forward no matter what decisions they have made in the past. So often people end up missing appointments in the NHS and are then told off and told they can be only helped if they "engage" - but it's not always simple to do this. I believe in not writing people off.
So what will you actually DO?
What exactly this project will look like is still up for grabs. I have a lot of people to talk to and a lot of questions to ask before I can concretely give a solid answer to this question. However, as far as things stand, I'd like to start by:
- Getting together a list of everyone doing anything health-related in the area, so we can work in the most joined-up way possible
- Surveying people to find out what they think about their own health, and general health in Byker
- Providing a place for people to come with their health-related questions/problems, from which they can be signposted onwards
- Supporting other local people to become involved as volunteers/facilitators in the project
So what do I need funding for? I need start-up costs, and a little bit for a salary (just enough to pay my bills - I'm certainly not looking for a fortune) and enough for any resources I may need in the first few months. The long-term dream is to receive charitable funding, but this crowdfunding plea is for the cash flow to start up the project.
I believe in local people, making change. And I believe that in the 21st century, healthcare inequalities shouldn't exist.
Can you help me with this?