A.T Beacon Newsletter Spring 2023
Updated: Apr 18
The A.T Beacon Project is a clinically led initiative of Ascension Trust delivering innovative neighbourhood level interventions that address health inequalities.
With a growing team of clinicians and health ambassadors, our approach is adaptive to the health & wellbeing needs of vulnerable communities across our 6 hubs in Lambeth.
Over the last year, we have made great steps to capture more opportunities to help residents in Lambeth stay well.
In February 2023, we welcomed a visit from England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy and colleagues.
Dr de Gruchy's feedback included "It was inspirational hearing about the fantastic work that you're doing, engaging with so many in the community who are benefitting from your support with their health and wellbeing".
Our first Hub was established in May 2021 and we now deliver drop-in Health & Wellbeing Hubs in 6 key locations across Lambeth.
St Mark's Church in Kennington (weekly)
Levels Barbershop on Streatham High Road (weekly)
The Community Shop, a social supermarket in West Norwood (weekly)
St John’s Church in Angell Town, Brixton (fortnightly)
Unit 7, Warwick House also in Angell Town (fortnightly)
Refuge Temple in Streatham (monthly).
In October 2022, we welcomed a visit to our Angell Town Estate Hub from South East London ICB to learn more about our successful innovative approaches to reach communities.
Please see feedback from the visit
We aim to serve the local community at neighbourhood level and we intend to expand our reach-in to communities by providing access to our services across the borough at convenient times and locations on a regular basis. In addition to our regular hubs, we also operate a mobile health and wellbeing outreach service with two strands to this theme of work – the first being the mental health and wellbeing outreach worker on the Lambeth Health and wellbeing bus (a role now in its second year) and the second is our Sunday/Faith outreach programme where we have visited and provided health promotion services to over 24 churches in Lambeth since March 2022 – especially congregations that have very diverse multi-ethnic makeups.
We have also delivered our services to a women’s mid-week group at Streatham Mosque who were attended to by a GP, a primary care nurse, a health ambassador as well as a visiting volunteer senior eye nurse from Moorfields Eye hospital, and a volunteer renal nurse from King’s College hospital.
Our work is welcomed by all communities of faith or of no faith but especially by those least likely to otherwise engage with the health service due to reasons contributing to the widening health inequalities experienced by some residents in Lambeth.
Our Latest Campaign
We also deliver an ongoing grassroots campaign in Lambeth communities called the Hi Five Campaign (which has now been adopted by Lambeth public health ambassadors on the Health and wellbeing bus) - The Campaign is focused on 5 (plus 1) key areas where health inequalities have been cited in Lambeth.
Health promotion is delivered by our clinicians and ambassadors around what we call ‘Know your ABCDEs’ A - Activity levels B - Blood pressure C - Cancer screening D - Diabetes and diet E - Eye health S - Seeking help for a mental health problem (schizophrenia, stress, suicidality, self-harm, self-esteem issues, sleeping problems – many s’s) This campaign has been well received by those we have engaged with thus far, be it on the streets of Lambeth, at our outreaches or in our hubs.
Demand for our work
The demand for our services in Lambeth and beyond does continue to be highlighted to us. For example, a large Catholic Church in Brixton has requested our services to support a regular session for senior, vulnerable citizens in their local area.
The women’s group at Streatham Mosque have also invited the team back to deliver more health promotion activities to their community.
Through our hubs coordinated by a trained nurse and assisted by at least two Beacon Health Ambassadors, we launched a Fruit and Veg on Prescription Scheme in collaboration with the Alexandra Rose Charity with the aim of bringing a clinical focus to this joint venture.
Further examples of our work include our hypertension case finding project in our Lambeth hubs and Outreaches with BP machines made available to vulnerable members of the community due to the generosity of Kidney Research UK and our partnership with Lambeth public health.
We have also been part of the planning and delivery for Lambeth’s Inspire, health and wellbeing event for Black Communities (now in its second year running).
We have supported the Lambeth Country show and have already been enlisted to do so for 2023.
We pride ourselves on the feedback from those we engage with, always seeking to deliver more than is required. Hence as a result of the impact and our community engagement at grassroots level to address health inequalities in Lambeth, the team expanded from an initial team of 2 GPs, a nurse and 2 Beacon Health ambassadors to a team of over 14 highly trained clinical and wellbeing staff on the ground in Lambeth at neighbourhood level engaging with residents in areas with social and health needs and where much health inequalities have been cited in the March 2022 State of the Borough report.
To hear more about our press coverage, please visit our media page. Recent highlights include our lead GP, Dr Ekhator speaking with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Newsnight alongside Professor Micheal Marmot and Professor Bobby Duffy about health inequalities and the need for tangible action. Also check out the latest episode on Doctor's Kitchen podcast as we invited Dr Rupy to our Angell Town Hub.
We look forward to expanding our work further by taking health and wellbeing services across more streets and neighbourhoods in Lambeth and beyond to ensure that no one is left behind.
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