Building Community Capacity

Building Community Capacity Resources:

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Building Community Capacity, Health Education East of England.

Building Community Capacity (BCC) is a key part of the Health Visiting Implementation Plan. For health visitors this is clearly linked to the principles of health visiting, which have been in place for more than three decades (CETHV, 1977), where health visitors act as a catalyst for identifying and enabling action by community groups and individual activists to address needs affecting health and wellbeing.  Whilst much of the existing workforce have had the potential to undertake this role, it is acknowledged that in recent years workloads have been overwhelming, and as result health visitors have lost the skills and knowledge necessary for this essential work. This in turn, means that newly qualified health visitors are less likely to be able to develop these skills through learning from their more experienced colleagues.

In the East of England, we have taken a unique approach in delivering this level of the HV offer. We have incorporated a project into the preceptorship programme of all newly qualified health visitors in the East of England. We have also encouraged our providers to extend the BCC programme to their whole HV workforce to embed the community level of the offer. Since 2012 we have had over 300 projects completed and have published a booklet with a sample of projects undertaken across the East of England. The variety of projects demonstrates the importance of listening to parents about what they feel they need, to support them in their journey of parenthood.

Participants are supported to develop their BCC projects in the workplace by workplace advisors (WPA) whose role is to:

1.            Act as an organisational resource.

2.            Enable participants to engage in the programme, undertake a work based project that will make a difference to communities.

3.            Support participants to navigate the building community capacity package.

4.            Help participants to identify opportunities to address learning outcomes.

5.            Act as a link between the participant and the employer.

6.            Organise ‘action learning sets’ or ‘building community capacity workshops’.

 

WPA’s have been drawn from a range of people depending on the site including experienced health visitors and in some cases those that have already undertaken the programme, team leaders, public health partners, etc.

In 2014 we have trained an additional 65 WPA’s taking our total number of WPA’s up to 200, which has given the capacity for the roll out of the BCC programme to more experienced health visitors who have welcomed the ability to reawaken their public health skills.

Quotes from BCC participants:

"BCC has been challenging but has helped me build networks within my new area and has taught me skills to overcome these challenges."

"Really really interesting and has given me a chance to profile the area and find out what the community want and get their ideas rather than just my own."

"Interesting and useful and at a professional level helps establish what’s going on in the area, it gets your face known and helps get you established in the community and helps to support the community. It’s been good engaging in something different."

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