Southampton City Council’s Public Health leads the multi-agency Big Lottery Chances4Change project; focusing on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) migrant communities and asylum seekers. A model of community engagement and empowerment will be used to improve the health and well-being of the community (including homeless people), through development of volunteer community champions. Technology and social media will also be used to educate (both the community and professionals), encourage positive behaviour change and community integration and cohesion.
Chances4Change is a two year project ending in June 2015. The project aims to ensure there is enhanced support for the most vulnerable in the community improving outcomes for BME communities. There is a gap in these communities take up of services due to a number of barriers such as language, culture and faith. Diversity in Southampton is increasing according to 2011 Census Data, in Bevois Ward for example 55.4% of residents are of BME background. Southampton has a higher percentage of resident households where no one speaks English (7.7% compared to 4.4% nationally) this language barrier often has implications on health and well-being of these communities and increasing inequalities.
The project aims to help overcome many of these barriers for the communities through the development of champions focusing on three key strands: Healthy Eating, Mental Health and Physical Activity. Over the lifetime of the project we plan to deliver activities such as gardening, healthy cooking on a budget classes, volunteering courses, folk dancing, art therapy, healthy walks, food hygiene courses, mental health first aid training and safeguarding sessions.
Providing activities such as cookery leaders courses, allowing individuals to learn the benefits of healthy eating, healthy cooking, budgeting and healthy shopping. The project aims to encourage behaviour change throught an increase in information and peer-support.
Aspiring to challenge the stigma around mental health and increasing awareness of the issues that affect the community such as hate crime, honour based violence, self-harm, suicides and scams. Combating social isolation for hard to reach individuals by providing activities for social interaction and encouraging an integrated community atmosphere.
Increasing knowledge of local opportunities to engage with local leisure providers, including both outdoor and indoor exercise activity taster sessions. Opportunity to get involved with gardening projects and gain skills and knowledge.