We have had previous experience of the Elevate programme and again wanted to enhance our offer to those most in need, we identified subject matter and areas that we wanted to approach, and the Elevate programme allowed us to explore and identify the right pathways to get the resources we needed to deliver.
Community mental wealth project, it focused on some of the taboo areas regarding mental and physical health, such as menopause awareness, prostate awareness, period poverty etc, as well as a personal development journey and tackling some of the issues associated with the current cost of living issues.
We had people on the courses who, as they put it are still in lockdown, they very rarely leave their homes, weren’t socialising and going out for shopping once a week, as in lockdown. We had people with chronic illnesses who did not know they could speak to their doctors. Through the interventions with the Elevate programme they learned about the doctors call back programme, minor ailments and the menopause, having a tick list of symptoms to take to the doctor rather than trying to remember them all. We encouraged and sat with people as they rang to talk to the doctor and get their health on track. Giving the participants knowledge and understanding of their rights has been an empowering part of their journey. We also saw friendships develop and the group meeting for coffee to discuss what they had learned that day, each bringing their own perspective on things. It gave the clients a confidence to get out of the house and the programme enabled us to give them something to look forward to and get out of the house for. They were able to ask questions about their health and wellbeing especially with the sigma topics of Menopause, sexual health and mental wellbeing.
The mentoring is a crucial part of being involved with Elevate, we appreciate the knowledge and the support. This has given us confidence in assisting our clients with their rights and supporting them in speaking with their doctor. I feel this programme assisted in getting those who were not leaving their homes to go out and gave them a knowledge of health inequalities, a sense of inclusion and gave them a voice to openly speak about their health without judgement. We were able to liaise with other organisations and what they are doing which has given us ideas and knowledge to take back to the participants and our organization. We feel empowered and confident to write an application form due to the training on Community Development. We have also increased our knowledge and understanding of community development and health inequalities, this means we are better equipped to deal with the issues of the client and point them in the right direction.
We felt better equipped to discuss the topics with the clients and also gave us knowledge of information needed sometimes on a daily basis. The groups now have the knowledge of taking care of themselves, the right places to contact and an awareness of their own needs as to health issues, community issues, nutrition (Cooking healthy meals on a budget). All the workshops were relating to physical, mental, sexual health with subjects relevant to the environment we are in. The PSNI came and gave a talk about safety within the community. This will help build and keep relationships with statutory bodies.
We would like to keep the relationship with the Elevate team going as we have enjoyed the freedom this has given us to provide the workshops relevant to the needs of our clients. We were able to take them out of their comfort zones, assist with healthcare and get the most isolated within the community speaking again-discussing issues within their community and giving them the confidence to value who they are again. This has been a privilege to watch and be a part of. We would hope to secure funding in the future for the next project.
"If I hadn’t been part of the Elevate programme. I would still be in lockdown with deteriorating health and feeling isolated and alone. I have contacted my doctor and I’m now on the mend and looking for volunteer opportunities."
Participant, GSJAC Programme Participant