Community Explorers is a network that meets on a regular basis in north, central and south Manchester. It is a partnership between Manchester Health and Care Commissioning and Macc, and aims to bring together anyone with an interest in health and wellbeing from across voluntary and community sectors to influence, connect, share knowledge and build relationships.
It is an informal and valued opportunity to collaborate with others whilst sharing information about services and activities and directly influencing some of the key strategies across the city.
North Manchester Community Explorers meet monthly. South and Central Manchester Community Explorers meet bi-monthly as the meetings are alternated with the eight bi-monthly Neighbourhood Partnership Forums supported by the GP Federations.
This creates a useful balance between sharing, connecting and influencing at a locality level at Community Explorers, and working practically at a neighbourhood level at the Neighbourhood Partnerships. The Neighbourhood Partnerships also provide a great opportunity to connect with primary care and other statutory health and social care providers at a neighbourhood level. These meetings are facilitated by a neighbourhood GP Transformation Lead.
Following feedback from Community Explorers, quarterly city-wide events have been added to the 2019 meeting dates. These meetings will enable Community Explorers to influence and inform strategic discussions and themes across Manchester. Recent city-wide events have enabled Community Explorers to be informed and involved in the development of the Population Health Plan and how the Manchester Local Care Organisation works with the voluntary sector.
Community Explorers creates a space to build relationships between VCSE and public sector staff and work across the usual organisational boundaries to look everything that has a positive impact on health and wellbeing beyond access to healthcare services.
Over the past year, Community Explorers have influenced the Manchester Health and Care Commissioning outcomes framework and are working in partnership with us to promote the Lung Health Checks due to start in April 2019 in north and east Manchester.
Here are the dates for next community explorer meetings:
North Manchester Community Explorers – Tuesday 21 January from 2pm to 4pm. The venue will be confirmed shortly.
Central Manchester Community Explorers – Thursday 23 January from 10am-12pm. The venue will be confirmed shortly.
South Manchester Community Explorers – Thursday 23 January from 2pm-4pm. The venue will be confirmed shortly.
At each meeting there are regular updates from the Health Development Co-ordinators, Buzz health and wellbeing service, Be Well, Manchester Active and Citizens Advice Manchester on the Advice on Prescription service.
During October 2018 to January 2019, Sarah Forster, an external consultant carried out an evaluation of Community Explorers for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning and Macc. The evaluation was carried out through the use of an online survey and face to face discussions with Sarah Forster at community explorer meetings. Community Explorers was felt to be very worthwhile by the vast majority of respondents – the evaluation included outcomes and areas for development in 2019.
If you work in the voluntary and community sector in Manchester, you are welcome to attend any of the above meetings and if you would like to talk about your service or share information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com