An analysis of the outcomes of the Thrive LDN Londoners said community conversations, with a foreword from the Mayor of London.
Poor mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing London and prevalence is often much higher in the communities facing greater inequalities.
In July 2017, the Mayor of London, alongside health and care partners, launched Thrive LDN with the aim of creating a collective movement across London, supporting everyone to speak openly about mental health and have an equal opportunity to thrive.
Following this, in September 2018, the Mayor further demonstrated his commitment to improving the mental health of Londoners through the publication of his Health Inequalities Strategy, which Thrive LDN supports the delivery of.
At its core, Thrive LDN is a participation-driven partnership that engages with and responds to the needs and insights of Londoners. By working in partnership across London we are better able to achieve our shared goal for all Londoners to have an equal chance to a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.
This ‘Londoners did’ report forms part of the story of how this partnership of Londoners is delivering real change in their communities. The report sets out how recommendations from the Thrive LDN community conversations presented in the ‘Londoners said’ report have been put into practice.
During 2017/18, more than 1000 Londoners took part in 17 community conversations across half of the city’s boroughs and their ideas for implementing the six Thrive LDN aspirations in their communities were recorded and shared with the ambition that action would follow.
This report shows that action did indeed follow from the community conversations in the form of better relationships between people and institutions, the development of a network of champions, new job roles, and volunteering opportunities.
It also changed local plans and strategies and even brought together public health and planning teams around the design of a new leisure centre to ensure high quality community space.
Given the first of the six Thrive LDN aspirations is to foster ‘a city where individuals and communities take control’, it is heartening that around 400 people developed useful relationships which are fundamental to change.
The community conversations called for a network of Thrive LDN Champions and in themselves the events provided a recruitment tool that led to champions being signed up and trained to lead positive change in their communities.
Whilst there are a number of tangible examples of change, it is less easy to measure advances made through the momentum generated, which many of the community conversation participants report was a positive outcome of the conversations.
In follow-up interviews, two organisers said that the community conversation had led to or supported the creation of new job roles, including a public mental health specialist position and a voluntary sector liaison manager.
Whilst in Lewisham, for example, the community conversation had aided reaching out to the Black community to support improving mental health services and public health.
In Hackney, the momentum and ideas led to a developing series of support information resources for people facing major life changes, such as births, bereavement and marriage, which the evidence suggests can make people more vulnerable to mental ill health.
These resources are in development and registrars have been identified as potential conduits of this information, as they interact with people at these pivotal points.
In Enfield, the community conversation influenced the plans for a major regeneration - prompting greater focus on creating ‘mentally healthier’ places with better access to green and community space, whilst in Sutton the community conversation fed into a Fairness Commission.
In another borough, a Poverty Commission was prompted by the community conversation to place a greater emphasis on security, that is security of housing tenure, security of employment and personal security.
In some boroughs, organisers said the community conversation was a revelation in terms of the approach to working with local residents and led to the adoption of more co-production as a means of developing other areas of public health work.
What 'Londoners did' in summary
- Around 400 community conversation participants and 80% of organisers made ‘useful connections’ at the events, which have resulted in new services, better service in-reach, new job roles, volunteering opportunities and training.
- A cohort of more than 40 Thrive LDN champions were enrolled in a leadership development programme, which took place across two intensive residential days and a series of seven masterclasses, followed by a final learning event. They are taking and leading action in their communities right now.
- The Thrive Thamesview mental health improvement pilot scheme commissioned by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Following this, their community conversation supported around 400 residents to improve relationships, skills and confidence, the delivery of which cost less per person than three months of anti-depressant medicine.
- The community conversation in Lambeth informed work on developing the community, council and NHS integration effort Lambeth Together and supported the Black Thrive improvement partnership between the borough’s Black Caribbean and African residents and statutory services.
- In Enfield, the community conversation has been an important part of ‘convincing leaders that we must ensure that new developments create mentally and emotionally healthy places.’
- Public health officials in Hackney have been working more closely with planning officers during the development of plans for a replacement leisure centre. At the time of writing, the new Britannia Leisure Centre is under construction with high quality community space.
- Lewisham used the community conversation to advance its work to provide better mental health support for Black residents who currently suffer disproportionately poor outcomes.
- Sutton’s Fairness Commission was changed as a result of the community conversation to include recommendations on how to better support the borough’s children and young people from deprived backgrounds achieve their potential.
- Southwark participants were inspired by hearing from powerful Black leaders, including Professor Kevin Fenton, the then-new Director of Public Health.
- The community conversations have encouraged other community-based events across London, exploring what is important to local people around their mental health and wellbeing. In Merton, for example, a Mental Health Fair with local services and residents was held in November 2019.
Londoners said report
Londoners have told us they don’t want or need top-down fixes – instead, they want the tools and networks to do it for themselves. This report provides insights and feedback from each of the community conversations held.
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