Thursday 19th September 2013
A partnership between the Black Health Initiative (BHI) and Macmillan has led to recognition on a local and national scale for the work of the Leeds-based community engagement organisation.
In January, BHI presented its model of engagement, commissioned by Macmillan, at the House of Lords.
The event was hosted by Lord Sheikh and was attended by Baroness Howells, Dominic Grieves QC and a number of MPs.
BHI works with large charities and statutory bodies to address inequalities in education, health and social care.
Macmillan started working with the organisation back in 2010. At that time, it was recognised that low numbers of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities were attending health and well-being clinics. These are places people who have finished treatment can go for support with life after cancer.
After the success of three new clinics specifically for people from BME communities, BHI was commissioned to carry out more work aimed at this group. The organisation was briefed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, to address cultural issues and taboos around cancer, and to promote early presentation to GPs. It was also asked to raise awareness of Macmillan services, such as benefits guidance.
The organisation has established a referral pathway to Macmillan services, which has led to an increase in visitor numbers from minority communities.
BHI now has two gender-specific support groups for people affected by cancer, where people meet others affected and can also request specialist clinicians to attend sessions and address any issues or concerns.
BHI also worked with the hair loss service at the Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre in Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust. It ensured the needs of women from BME communities were taken into account when the service was shaped.
More recent activity includes a buddying service. There has also been an increase in fundraising activity among minority communities in Leeds.
Visit the Black Health Initiative website.
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