Addressing health inequalities across NI through the Elevate programme

It is that time of year, when our Public Health Agency funded Elevate programme wraps up for the year and we look forward to our celebration event on 20 May. This year has been a whirlwind of activity with Elevate training and the Mentoring and Grants Programme keeping us busy, not to mention the Elevate portal.

The training has been a real pleasure to deliver, with 281 participants taking part in 22 Elevate training sessions on Health Inequalities and Community Development across NI. Participants came together from across every Trust and Council area in NI and from the Voluntary and Community and Public Sectors to learn, and share their experience, of the role of community development in tackling health inequalities.

We get such a buzz from seeing our participants connect and learn, and their feedback about the difference it has made to them has been a great encouragement too. Prior to the training, 42% of participants said that they had considerable knowledge about health inequalities – this had risen to 98% after the training. 34% of participants said that they had considerable knowledge about community development before the Elevate training, this rose to 96% after the training.

As well as the Elevate training, we provide a Community Mentoring and Grants programme with mentoring support provided to 21 Mentee groups by our five partner mentor organisations who are based in each Trust area. A huge thanks to ARC, Bolster, CDRCN, MEAAP and Women’s TEC for all their work on the programme. In addition to mentoring, £104,000 of grant support was delivered to the 21 mentee groups enabling them to deliver local projects using a community development approach to tackle health inequalities.

We supported a wide variety of projects this year, one of which was MYMY (Mind Your Mate and Yourself), a counselling organisation based in Newcastle with experience in suicide prevention and intervention. They were supported by mentor, County Down Rural Community Network. For their project, they organised and facilitated face-to-face workshops mapping how people had connected with the charity, their experience of living with inequality and the role that MYMY has in community development approaches to addressing health inequalities. This has helped them to more effectively identify health inequalities in their work, and they now confidently recognise that they are using community development practice to reduce them. They feel that both the mentoring support and the project have made an enormous difference to their organisation and their work.

Look out for more information on the Community Mentoring and Support Programme after our celebration event later this month.

In addition to all of this activity, we have uploaded 103 new resources to the Elevate Portal through the year and we continue to promote it to our members as a reliable source of news, research and articles on all aspects of health inequalities and the social determinants of health.

And of course, as one year ends, another begins. Look out for Elevate 2022-23, we will be posting new training dates in June!

Helen McLaughlin

Training & Development Manager

Elevate trainees 21 22 (2)