Two years ago, data was published showing Manchester to have some of the worst outcomes when it comes to our heart and mental health.
In order to think about this challenge in a different way, a team of people from Manchester City Council, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning and MCRactive, decided to get out into communities in north Manchester to see what people thought when it came to their own heart and mental health. They also wanted to find out from people what keeps them healthy and well in more general terms, such as access to green space, support from their friends and family or the food that they eat.
What followed has been documented in our report on Winning Hearts and Minds in Collyhurst and Cheetham. The team initially organised workshops and asked local groups and organisations to send people along – with limited success. They changed tack and instead went directly to people in their communities. This resulted in higher engagement and really valuable conversations.
The work included a number of recommendations for how to take Winning Hearts and Minds further, including:
– Recognising the importance of listening
– Continual reflection and a willingness to flex and adapt
– Sensitivity to informal structures and leadership in communities
– Understanding the diverse nature of community’s cultural and religious influence
– Learning from what works, and what doesn’t, and trying again
– Mentoring and coaching others to use this approach
As a result of the engagement work in Collyhurst and Cheetham, in summer 2019, eight Community Development Fieldworkers were appointed to continue this work, embrace the recommendations and to support communities to create the conditions that allow heart and mental wellbeing to thrive.
Please read our report for more information on our approach, and for more information on the Winning Hearts and Minds Programme and its four workstreams, please contact Charli Dickenson on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07384 896964.