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Healthwatch Harrow - Top Highlights of 2021

13/12/2021

This year has been a difficult one for many people in our community, especially across the health and social care sector whether patients, clients, residents, workers, or commissioners.

Bearing this in mind, we decided to spread some much-needed cheer and end 2021 on a high by sharing our top 5 highlights of the year with the whole community.

We hope to inspire you with our achievements and show the amazing work that is being done by our team of staff and volunteers to empower, reach out to, and provide a voice for local people on health and social services in our amazing borough. Here they are:

1) Our volunteer numbers doubled and diversified

We are delighted to have increased our volunteer numbers by double. Our force of dedicated volunteers is twice as large and more diverse than ever. We are proud to have people from different ages, as young as 16 up to older age and different ethnic and religious backgrounds including local Healthwatch champions from the Romanian and Somali-origin communities.

Each volunteer brings a unique perspective to our talented team and helps to represent the diverse mosaic community that is the London Borough of Harrow. We are also delighted to have seen a number of our volunteers find permanent employment in the health, social care and voluntary sectors as a direct result of their experience with us.

2) We have continued to engage the community in-person

Here at Healthwatch Harrow, we appreciate that digital interaction is not open to everyone. We also know that there are times when a face-to-face, personal touch can go a long way in getting people to open up about their views.

In order to provide residents with as many opportunities to share their views as possible, we kept attending as many in-person events as possible. We met with people at the local Carers Fun Day with Harrow Carers and Harrow Council’s Carer lead, at the Harrow Ghanaian Association Barbeque and welcomed the opportunity to meet young Harrow residents at Stanmore College Freshers Fayre. We also engaged with clients and volunteers from Harrow at one Community ConneX’s community lunches at the Water’s Edge restaurant on Ruislip Lido.

3) We hosted five major online and remote access events, and plenty of smaller ones

There were also times this year when residents felt more comfortable to take part in online events and remote access events rather than meet us in person. Making use of both video and conference call technology, we created accessible opportunities for residents to attend events either by phone or with their computers and tablets.

We hosted five online events including an event on access to dental care during the pandemic, mental health services, as well as an additional mental health event focused on services for people with a learning disability and co-hosted two engagement sessions with Harrow Mencap and Community ConneX around the Local Council and Clinical Commissioning Group’s Learning Disability and Autism Strategy for people with a learning disability, Autistic people, their carers, and families.

In addition to our larger events, we hosted regular, more intimate Zoom events in partnership with local partners including the Somali Women's Empowerment and Organising Services, the Harrow Association of Somali Voluntary Organisations and Romanian Culture and Charity Together, as well as conference phone call events.

4) Our social media presence has grown

We are proud that our social media presence has grown immensely throughout the year. All in all, our we have welcomed a total of 334 new followers across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Bringing our total social media reach up to 2,445.

5) We have stepped up our digital engagement and collected more online feedback from people than ever before

During 2021, we conducted more online surveys with residents and introduced new social media polls on our Instagram, Twitter and Nextdoor profiles. We are delighted to have polled residents digitally on issues such as local dentistry, feelings around loosening Covid-19 restrictions, vaccination experiences, access to the flu jab and local pharmacy services. We are delighted to have received digital feedback from more local people than ever before.

 

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