At Dorset CCG, we constantly strive to improve the ways we reach out to, and listen to as many communities in our county as possible. This is always our goal, and has been of the utmost importance during the pandemic and continues to be so now.

One of the ways we do this, is through regular meetings hosted by Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC). The meeting is attended by community leaders, forming a group of people we call Community Health Ambassadors. The group came about in December 2018, when DREC and the CCG worked together to host the first meeting with a group of people from different ethnic backgrounds who are very active in their respective communities.

We currently hold meetings fortnightly, so we can keep up a two-way conversation with communities across Dorset during this worrying time. In this way, we are able to work closely with the ambassadors to reach communities with key messages, answer queries and take concerns and ideas back to the CCG.

The ambassadors are able to help share health messages, as well as feedback to us how their communities are feeling. One example is the importance of people still contacting their GP with concerns about their health. One of our ambassadors made a video about this for the Gypsy and Traveller community which was well received on social media by her community. You can see this on the short video below.

We know from the community leaders that people are doing a lot to support each other. However, one of the ambassadors raised concerns about the increase in people needing emotional support in her community, and felt that there should be training for people like herself to know how to best support others. DREC are now looking into starting such training, and we have also been able to feed this into the Mental Health Integrated Community Care project.

DREC and the health ambassadors have also helped to promote the above mental health survey to different communities, to give people the chance to share their experiences of using local mental health services and how they think services could be improved. For more info on this project visit the webpage here.

We have made a video to show some of the work that is going on which you can watch here:

For more information about the Health Ambassadors group, please contact communications@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

Casey Townsend

Engagement and Communications Coordinator

casey.townsend@dorsetccg.nhs.uk