2017 Equality Award winners highlight outstanding work by local people in Sandwell and West Birmingham

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Over 140 people from across the NHS, statutory and voluntary sectors attended this year’s Sandwell and West Birmingham Equality Awards, which were held at Villa Park, the home of Aston Villa FC.

The awards, run by NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), brought together local people and organisations to recognise and celebrate the outstanding work to address inequalities in health and well-being in the Sandwell and West Birmingham community.

Peoples AwardBeat the Street (pictured right) was the winner of the People’s Choice Award, which champions local groups and organisations that make a difference by reducing health inequalities in the community.

Khalsa Ladies Group, which includes women aged 25-75, was launched to take part in Sandwell Beat the Street this year. Many of the women had not been involved in any physical activity at all. The project was introduced to get more women from diverse communities physically active, in particular women with long term health conditions such as Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.

Beat the Street arranged for regular group walks for up to twenty women from the local Gurdwara in Smethwick High Street every week. The walks took the group around Smethwick discovering new places, passing schools, shops, going into green spaces, connecting to nature in local parks, socialising a making new friends in the community.

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, eight other organisations received special awards. The winners were as follows:

·       Learning Disability Award   - El Marsh Care

Established in January 2013, El Marsh Care’s vision is committed to making changes in the way people with learning disabilities are integrated back into the community, to lead an enriched and fulfilling life.

·       Primary Care Award - Raydocs (Newton & Aston Pride Health Centres)

Raydocs achieved excellence in equality with the introduction of its ‘Loneliness project’. The project was introduced by the nurse and reception managers and has reduced social isolation and improved the lives and the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of the community.

·       Statutory Sector Award - Oldbury Community Fire Cadets

Supported by the West Midlands Fire Service, this volunteer led group was brought about by fire-fighters who saw the need to cater for members of the community that have a wide range of learning difficulties.

·       Partnerships Award   - Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

In response to a staff survey, the Trust has improved its approach to diversity and inclusion.

·       Voluntary, Community, Faith Sector Award - People in Mind

People in Mind (PIM) are Kaleidoscope Plus Group’s co-production and service user involvement group. Individuals with experience of mental illness are involved in PIM through 14 schemes including a forum, subgroups, peer support and activity groups, advocacy, volunteering schemes, events and social activities,  befriending/mentoring and fundraising.

·       Chair's Award - Bethel Health & Healing Network

The Bethel Doula service provides emotional and birth partner support for vulnerable and isolated pregnant women and new mothers

·       Chair's Award - Helen Corish

Helen is a very experienced and passionate learning disability nurse who works with young people who are of transition age and have complex learning disabilities and health needs

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said:

“These awards shine the spotlight on an inspiring group of dynamic local people who champion support for the vulnerable in our community. Our communities are diverse and ever-changing but one thing that continues to shine through is the absolute commitment of so many people to tackling health inequalities wherever they may be found.

“I would particularly like to congratulate Beat the Street who won the People’s Choice Award. This is a special award which means so much to local groups and organisations, because it’s voted for by people in the communities in which they serve.”