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PPL are proud to sponsor Buurtzorg’s Caring Places: Building Healthy Communities Festival on Tuesday 19th October 2021.

In preparation for joining the conversations at the festival, we have reflected as a team on our work supporting places to create healthier and happier communities. Three key themes have emerged from our conversations with colleagues. These themes explore what has guided our work so far supporting health and care systems to think about health and wellbeing creation, not just treating and managing ill health.

We wanted to share these as “conversation starters” ahead of the festival – do come and find us on the day and chat to us about them!

1 Meaningful and early engagement is a “must have”, not a “nice to have”

In our work with City and Hackney, we supported the health and care system to embed co-production of services as a tool for change. Through this, we saw communities and the system work together to rethink how power and responsibility can be shared between them, starting with an open and early conversation. The work started with no clear answer set out, and through engagement with representative groups developed changes that were meaningful to the local population. In all our work, we find that listening to diverse views helps to build a common purpose and deliver care that is appropriate to the communities we serve, especially as people are different in the way they problem-solve and generate ideas.

2 People who work in “places” are also “people”

Many people working in health and care transformation talk about engaging service users and patients, and then also engaging with staff and leaders. In our work supporting Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) to develop healthy places, however, we’ve found it useful to recognise that many of the people working in a health and care system will also live in the area and use services. They may also play other roles in supporting health and wellbeing as carers, parents and/or volunteers. Recognising this can help to flip conversations within systems about healthy communities, by focusing attention on the fact that everyone has a stake in creating a healthy and caring place.

3 Community-based approaches are impactful, not just “feelgood”

There is a need for both “the heart” and “the head” when making the case for building healthy communities. Through our work with the Health Foundation and NHS England to deliver Realising the Value, we worked to create a tangible evidence-base for why community-based approaches are impactful, not just “feelgood”. We have since supported Helpforce to develop deeper understanding of the impact of volunteering in the NHS. A quantitative evidence base for community-led approaches can be challenging to develop, but when combined with the human side of impact illustrated by personal stories and examples, it is a necessary part of making the case for building healthy communities at a place level.

PPL is a social enterprise and B Corp that exists to promote better health, wellbeing, and economic outcomes across the UK. Come and say hello on Tuesday 19th October! PPL colleagues will be engaging in 12 conversations, exploring topics from community nursing, social care, general practice, and more.

Book your place here to join our conversation about what makes for healthy communities and what systematic changes are needed to enable them to flourish. 

To find out more about our work at PPL and our work during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our website here.