Earlier this month, TSIP attended a St Martin’s Day celebration hosted by the Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership at Wyvil Primary School. Over the last few months, TSIP has been working with Guys and St Thomas’ Charity and Wellcome Trust to explore new ways of funding, whereby citizens decide. TSIP have been investigating best practice and local insight - to determine the best ways to increase agency and wellbeing for residents in Walworth and North Lambeth, by enabling them to define what matters to them, and be responsible for the local allocation of funding.
Crucially, we have been seeking input from the community through this scoping stage in order to co-design mechanisms of community decision-making and empowerment. The St Martin’s Day event gave us a wonderful opportunity to speak to residents and hear their thoughts.
St Martin’s Day is a feast day celebrated by the Portuguese speaking community in Lambeth, and by many Europeans around the world, to commemorate St Martin and celebrate the harvest with roasted chestnuts and wine. It’s a much-anticipated time for people in the community to gather together, and this event hosted a fantastic array of organisations such as Respeito, the Stockwell Partnership, Remakery, Morley College and the Big Kid Foundation; and healthcare professionals providing free blood pressure checks and information.
We were joined by the talented Hummingbird Video to run Vox pop activities, literally voice of the people, where passers-by volunteer to speak on camera. We asked:
· Would you like to be involved with decisions improving health and wellbeing in your community?
· What kind of changes would you like to see to help health and wellbeing?
· What do you think the best way would be to get involved in local decision making? What would be exciting, and what could be difficult?
Everyone we spoke to was enthusiastic about the prospect of greater community involvement in decision-making around the funding that affects them; a few made tentative suggestions for how this could work, such as discussions that are carried out in community groups, especially those that are tied to existing community events.
We also heard some initial suggestions for how health and wellbeing could be increased:
· Cultural awareness training provided to those in healthcare: making sure health provision is a respectful and approachable process
· Information and outreach for young Portuguese coming to the UK for university: advice on the NHS, registering for a GP, and taking care of yourself while away from home
· Targeted information and support for new or expectant parents
It was an incredible opportunity and experience, and are particularly thankful to everyone who contributed their thoughts and opinions, the Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership for hosting us and throwing such a wonderful event, and all the other visitors, volunteers and stallholders for making us feel so welcome.
We’re only just getting started with hearing from the community and bringing citizens into co-designing a participatory process – watch the space and do get in touch to share your expertise or experience if you are a Lambeth or Southwark resident, or have been involved with similar programmes before.