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Connect for Health build relationships with the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Communities

Published on: March 1, 2024

School Nurse student Hannah Roberts, from Connect for Health, the Warwickshire School Nursing Service, attended an outreach visit to the Griff Site in Nuneaton alongside two other health agencies.

The aim of this visit was to build relationships with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities, informing them that Connect for Health are a service who can provide support and advice on a range of health topics for their school-age children, whether they attend school or not.

Hannah said: “I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and engagement from parents, discussion was open and informative.”

Whilst collaborating with George Elliot NHS Trust and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT), Hannah boarded the ‘Mobile Wellbeing Hub’ bus to visit the Griff Site for 2 hours.

Hannah explained: “this is a really positive first step for C4H in tackling health inequalities and targeting support to groups that need it the most”.

Hannah was able to provide the community at the Griff Site with goody bags which included healthy cereals and snacks, crayons, glow sticks and C4H colouring books.

School Staff Nurse, Alison Bindley, also sourced 9 donated Aston Villa footballs from her club contact Carl McNally, to provide the children with a form of physical activity.

Hannah added: “the children absolutely loved the footballs, and flocked around me to grab their colouring books and goody bags. As I drove away from the site, it was really lovely to see them all playing outdoors with their new footballs.”

Through her communication with the site manager, Hannah was able to interact with families and offer advice to parents on a variety of health topics. Following this visit, Hannah coordinated support for a family to access immunisations for their 6 year old who starts school in April. Literacy challenges prevented the parents from reading and filling in an online GP form, but Hannah was able to break down this barrier and facilitate a phone appointment to fulfil their health needs.

Hannah stated: “during my visit to the Griff Site, I was overwhelmed by the positive engagement I experienced from families and their willingness to share their experiences and health needs with me. This was supported by the collaboration between myself and the site manager who has built a trusting relationship with the community over the course of 10 years”.

Connect for Health are committed to supporting children and young people across Warwickshire to live healthy lives. By targeting support towards communities such as this who are widely recognised to experience significantly worse health outcomes, we are sending a message to GRT communities that we value their health too. Engaging with them and seeking their voice is pivotal in truly valuing them as individuals.

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