How the Health and Wellbeing Alliance is relevant to you!
Sometimes when you’re right in the middle of something—say, completing a project or working to resolve an issue—you can assume that everyone knows what you’ve been doing. Essentially, you can think that everyone knows what’s in your head! This is especially true for those of us who, like me, struggled at school—we assume everyone knows what we know, as we seem to know so little!
All this means that sometimes the people closest to us are the last to hear about a good thing.
So, to that end, let me tell you about a significant partnership that you, our members, ought to know about. We’re currently in FaithAction’s tenth year of working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) as the voice of faith into health, wellbeing and social care. In that time, the programme has changed name and we have reapplied to remain part of it. In fact, the department itself has also changed—both in name and structure. Today, we work not only with the DHSC but also with Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement.
This partnership is known as the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance (and found as #HWAlliance on Twitter). FaithAction joins other key bodies in the Alliance who represent a variety of communities across the country, including Age UK, Race Equality Foundation and many more. (You can find a full list of members here.) We look to give the government a faith-eye view on policy developments, feed intelligent insights into their thinking, and translate some of the language and opportunities throughout the health system back to our members, as well as the wider voluntary and community sector.
It was through being a part of the Alliance, for example, that a lady—who benefited from a local befriending scheme run by one of our member organisations—could share her experiences with a room full of policy-makers, MPs, a government minister, and an array of voluntary-sector leaders.
The Alliance exists, in essence, to make the voice of individuals and communities heard.
It is the Alliance, too, which gives us access to such a wealth of information on health and social care. We have helped inform policy of a number of different Governments, and we will continue to do so with the new Government formed after December’s general election.
But it is a two-way task. Faith also provides a great opportunity to reach people with key health messages and interventions. We see, for example, that the issues of loneliness, social isolation and integration can be, in part, answered by social prescribing. And faith organisations can play a key role in this.
In that sense, we can both define the issues that our nation faces through the intelligence we gain from faith groups and empower those same communities to offer solutions to these issues.
If you want to know more about the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, visit its page in the Health and Care section on our website.
The VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a partnership between the voluntary sector and the health and care system to provide voice and improve health and wellbeing for all communities.
The 21 members of the HW Alliance have been selected for their demonstrable reach into a wide range of communities facing significant health inequalities, and their ability to represent the collective views of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.