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Registered Charity Number 1151980

Company Number 8013774

BME Health Forum Quarterly Meeting Notes [Download notes here or see below | Click here to see collated feedback information from attendees]

Date & Time: Tuesday 27th September 2018, 10.30-13.30

Venue: Church Street Library, 67 Church Street, NW8 8EU


Vivien Davidhazy – BME Health Forum

Eddie Chan – Chinese National Healthy Living Centre

Tania Faraj – The Abbey Community Centre

Carrie Hirst – NHS West London CCG

Ray Johannson-Chapman – NHS NWL CCGs

Yeasmin Begum – Marylebone Bangladesh Association

Nafsika Thalassis – BME Health Forum

Maryam Yaslem – Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre

Lena Choudary-Salter – Mosaic Community Trust

Marie Tameze – French African Welfare Association

Aziz Toki – CLYD (Central London Youth Development trust)

Alda Cela – People Arise Now

Yasi Dehghani – Iranian Association

Mahasin Abu – FORWARD

Filsan Ali – Midaye Somali Development Network

Jane Lanyero – African Women’s Care

Rosa Smile – FAWA

Naziha Elmoarni – Mosaic Community Trust

Rufla Begum – Mosaic Community Trust

Lindsay Topham – NWL CCGs

Gladys Sheriff – WAND UK

Latifa – Mosaic Community Trust


Eddie Chan, Chair of the BME Health Forum, welcomed all to the meeting and Introductions were made.

Item 1: Introduction by Carrie Hirst from West London CCG about her role

Carrie works for West London Clinical commissioning group (CCG). One of things that Clinical Commissioning Groups do is pay for local community groups to deliver health and wellbeing services. The CCG pay for the BME Health Forum. The CCG also speaks to local communities to get feedback.

Carrie used to work for K&C volunteer centre as coordinator for Nottingdale Ward Community Champions and previous to that has worked in Uganda and India.


Item 2: Aziz Toki from Central London Youth Development presents the children’s summer cooking programme

Central London Youth Development Trust started in 1996 by a group of young people. It got a formal shape in 2000 and in 2004 obtained charity status. In the 90’s people were talking a lot about anti-social behaviour.

The motto of CLYD is:

“Promoting social behaviour of young generations of ethnic minorities, who are in many ways excluded and at risk.”

Projects initiated by CLYD included the following:

Education and Training

Mentoring, Supplementary Education, Oral History collection 


Learn and Earn, Meet & Greet

Health & Wellbeing

New Lease New Life, Let active Get result, Share and Care, Bollywood Dance, Cooking Sessions

Social and Cultural

Beauty of Diversity, Summer Programme

The Cooking programme was funded by the BME Health Forum. The idea behind it is that children are very rarely included in the preparation of food. At home when I have got my own children to help prepare food with me I see how much enjoy it and this inspired me to think up this programme.

Aim of the programme:

To engage children in a healthy and simple cooking course so that they are able to learn the various skills involved in preparing healthy meals and gain an understanding of the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, whilst having fun and making new friends amongst other children in the community.

It’s a fact that in Westminster more than 50% of kids are eligible and get free school meals so in the holidays we don’t know how they are eating. With this project running over the holidays we can ensure that these children will get a meal and one that they can cook themselves.

Outcomes: Parents are happy that their children have learned how to make a dish and children are proud.  The children also learnt about healthy and unhealthy food, measuring ingredients and working together, bonding. Following these sessions the children and mums asked for parent and child sessions and luckily we now have funding and will run these.

Question: How many children attended the sessions?

Answer: 20 children from Church street area.

Question: Any ideas to take this programme to schools?

Answer: We are open to start a dialogue with schools for the future but there are few obstacles in a school in terms of use of kitchen facilities and regulations in schools etc.

Comment: From hearing about this programme I can see that there must be even more outcomes in terms of giving children a sense of responsibility and encouraging boys as well, overcoming gender bias.


Item 3: Marie Tameze presents the French African Welfare Association

I came to the UK over 22 years ago and my experience was that I needed basic info such as knowing where the library is, the market. Basic navigation was a challenge and on top of that we had children to look after. Speaking to my community I realised that many of us did not know what was available and I decided that we should come together to support eachother. We encouraged people to go to ESOL classes. There are 4 women who are now nurses because we encouraged and pushed them.

We also did a lot of work around HIV and tackling the stigma around it. We currently run an emotional wellbeing project funded by the BME Health Forum that offers one to one emotional support and practical help to people going through a difficult time. West London CCG are funding our Men’s project. Men are difficult to engage with but now our group has been established, it is very popular with swimming classes and group outings.

When FAWA started we were in Lambeth but we work in Kensington and Chelsea.

Emotional Wellbeing project

Rosa spoke to us about her work as an emotional wellbeing worker for FAWA’s Emotional wellbeing project that supports people in RBKC. She told us how 50% of the population of RBKC is BME and mental health issues are more prevalent in BME communities and they are more likely to reach crisis point due to a number of factors including cultural and language barriers to receiving mainstream support, they are more likely to experience isolation, and may experience racism and other forms of discrimination. The purpose of the project is to help those who are vulnerable by minimising their stress and anxiety via 1:1 sessions in a safe environment with someone who speaks in their native language with a flexibility of time and place to be able to accommodate those who have changing timetables for their work such as cleaners and shift workers.

4 sessions of 1 hour are initially offered, however if a client clearly needs some further support they try and accommodate the client’s needs.

Kind of support offered: e.g transition from DLA/ ESA to Universal credit; helping with energy bill debt – one lady was so paralysed with the idea of the debt that she was unable to call the energy company herself to try and find a way to clear the debt.

The type support offered can be quite practical but other methods of dealing with and trying to help people who come with stress is mindfulness, active listening, art therapy (Rosa has asked clients to express their emotions with drawings), clients are often asked to prioritise their problems, they use SMART goals and action planning to help people make step by step changes to their situation.


Item 4: Lena Choudary-Salter presents the work of Mosaic Community Trust

Mosaic Community Trust is a small community organisation based in the Church street area.

The premature death rate in our ward is more than 50% higher than the national average. Mental ill health is significant and is in the top 10 of all London wards.  Mosaic started in the Church street area 10 years ago in response to these statistics. We discovered most of the mental ill health was due to fractured relationships in families, between communities. We discovered there was little interaction between communities even though most we encountered shared the similarities of being Muslim women. We created a group where we invited people from different cultures – Pakistani, Bengali, Lebanese, Sudanese. It took a long time to get the group to realise that there are more similarities than differences between them. Our mission is about promoting leadership and empowerment.

Our approach

Isolation is a big factor in mental ill health and our approach is very much about connecting communities together and families together. We encourage women to be active in their society. We develop skills. We trained women to be Ayurvedic Indian Head massage therapists and then reached out to vulnerable communities, particularly the elderly and combined social gatherings with the elderly and Indian head massage for them.

Women from all communities come together to get the Indian Head Massage – they arrive tired and weary and leave feeling rejuvenated and also have had a chance to speak and open up.

At least 30 women a year are trained in Indian Head Massage.

Psycho education project – People from the community don’t understand the language of programmes like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy offered by IAPT. As part of the project we train our group to understand the language and then pass it on.

Question: Are there any restrictions on who can come to Indian Head Massage programme?

Answer: Because at the moment we are not receiving any funding to deliver this we have no restrictions by borough – everyone is welcome.

Rufia, one of ladies from the Mosaic group spoke about her experience being part of Mosaic. Rufia spoke of her health issues such as living with Diabetes. She told us how being part of the group lifted her mood, helped her to lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels. Another lady who joined Mosaic gained the confidence to request to see another consultant when she was referred to the hospital and intimidated by who she was initially referred to.

At Mosaic women are encouraged and given the opportunity to develop their confidence and be proactive in making their lives better.


Item 5: Lindsay Topham presents the Health help now app

Lindsay works for the Digital Team for North west London CCGs.

The basic function of the Health Help now app is to help patients understand what service to go to including voluntary sector services. The app also contains a symptom checker. All of the content is written by local GPs and its free.

The aim of the app is to help people get the best service for their issue. If you have the app on your phone you should also be able to call the service you need directly from the app. Also if your GP has online booking you should be able to book appointments directly from the App as well.

The App is only available in English.

In the App there is a Mental Health button and also a Voluntary sector button.

Question: What about the elderly and others who are not digitally aware?

Answer: We have launched a Digital Champions project – we will train people to educate others in the use of the app.

Next Steps – how do we personalise the app. We want to introduce the PAM (Patient Activation Measure) quiz on the app and get the results through to your medical record.

Question: In my community and organisation we have been doing a lot of work around encouraging people with HIV and TB to get identified early – won’t this technology discourage people from presenting in person to the GP and A&E?

Answer: Yes I understand. The app is not perfect for every situation and further down the road we would want to make it personal for specific communities.


Item 6: Ray Johannsen-Chapman from North West London CCG presents the engagement work being done around GP extended hours

Ray asked the forum if anyone had heard of GP extended hours, if anyone had used it and how the experience was.

GP extended hours is meant to manage the overflow of needed appointments. Scenario: You call up your GP and are told that you can’t see anyone until 2 weeks. If this is the case you should be offered an appointment in the evening or on the weekend – perhaps at an alternative GP practice.

So far we have spoken to 1600 people. In focus groups we have heard that in general people are keen to see their own GP or at least stay in their own GP practice and if not possible would rather go to A&E where there are consultants and specialists – AND if not that urgent would rather wait for their own GP.

We have also learned a lot about how we promote it – for example we have learned that texts work well.

Ray asked everyone at the Forum to fill out a survey abound GP extended hours.


Item 7: Organisation updates

Forward do work with women with and at risk of FGM. They are currently running free legal advice sessions – the next one will take place on the 10th October. Also, the next coffee morning will be on the 17th October.

Al-Hasaniya is continuing with free ESOL sessions on Tuesdays 10 – 12pm. Anyone can come and the level is mixed.


Date and Time of next meeting: 11th December 2018, 1pm – 4pm.