Our Networking Activities in Oldham
Advancing Equality Across Greater Manchester (GM), Locality cluster took place on Wednesday 28 November at the Werneth Conference Suite in Oldham. The Roadshow was second of a number of events across GM to enable our communities to explore how a number of GM proposals can shape service delivery and support the health and social care needs of local people in a meaningful way to tackle health and social inequalities that currently exist in the Oldham, Rochdale, Bury and Tameside areas.
The event provided MEaP with the opportunity to review and evaluate how we will engage with the local communities in Oldham and other authority areas about our Education plans. However, we noted that we will need to be aware of the local politics as an ‘outsider’ as this will affect how we are perceived with other local organisations, schools and the local authority.
More about the Event
Advancing Equality Across Greater Manchester (GM)
The event was attended by approximately forty people from a range of voluntary community sectors working across Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Tameside. Maqsood Ahmad opened the event by setting the scene across Greater Manchester. Beginning with the historic journey of the relationship between the VSCE sector and NHS/Social Care Partnership leading to the establishment of Memorandum of Understanding.
This was followed by a short address from Javed Iqbal the Lord Mayor of Oldham, who shared his life journey working as a taxi driver, to becoming an IT Graduate and consultant before his current role as Lord Mayor. He highlighted the importance for Oldham to become a place where its young people will stay and seek opportunities to develop their careers and influence policy after they graduate from University. Maqsood Ahmad then provided a snapshot of the Health inequalities across Greater Manchester helping to set the scene before workshops.
The workshops and roundtable discussions were facilitated by community practitioners Donna Miller from Associate Director and Policy and Development for Equality at BHA, Mark Nesbit from Voluntary Action Traford and Audrey Okere-Fosu Equalities Coordinator. We were also able to engage with Charles Kwaku-Odoi and Charles Maduemezia from the Caribbean and African Health Network (CAHN). Maqsood also introduced me to community practitioner Samina Arfan who is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the NHS and Social Care across Rochdale and Oldham.
The discussions centred on the proposed role of the new GM Equality Board. The key questions for discussion were ‘How could a GM equality board best add value to your work and what should its priority be moving forward?’ What would people like to see happening to improve equality issues locally, and who needs to be involved? ‘What are the examples of good practice can you share including the public sector? E.g. your experiences of services, access to services?’
The main feedback and findings will formulate a report to be published in early 2019. Some of the themes from the discussions focused on for example ‘How those who are vulnerable are able to be fairly represented within the GM Equality Board and VCSE Devolution Reference Group?’ ‘How do we know that representatives on the Board are making a difference to help improve quality of life?’ ‘To what extent commissioners will take into account the social value/impact the VCSE sector is contributing to Social care.’
The discussions also highlighted the need for closer collaboration across themes and sector, such as within education, housing, welfare, employment and health and wellbeing (holistic approach). Looking at the cost benefits of early intervention and preventative measure for health and wellbeing/ mental health.