Partnership working is at the heart of the two Health and Wellbeing Days held in Kingston and Richmond this year aimed at supporting people experiencing homelessness, refugees and those seeking asylum in South West London.
Both events, held at venues in Twickenham and Kingston town centre, saw colleagues from health and care organisations, local authorities and the voluntary sector working together to provide a range of useful services.
Over 140 attendees came along to the events and were able to access Covid-19 and flu vaccinations, testing for HIV and Hepatitis, a chance to have an appointment with a GP and access to support for any worries they might have around addiction and their mental health. There was also a healthy lunch available, haircuts and a chance to pick up clothes from the Spear Clothing Bank.
A homeless man at the Kingston event visiting the blood testing van said “I had an appointment at West Middlesex Hospital for this but can’t afford the bus fair to get there. I wouldn’t have got these tests done if you weren’t here today.”
Working with the voluntary organisations who directly support these communities including Spear, Refugee Action Kingston and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness we were able to engage and support people to attend the event, through providing transport and interpreters. Speaking to attendees issues such as accessibility, travel and language are barriers they face in accessing health services. Events like this overcome these barriers.
Dr Naz Jivani, said of the Kingston event: “During the pandemic, more than ever, we have realised that there are certain communities and parts of the population that can be really isolated, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness. Working together across Kingston has been shown to be effective at supporting these populations. Today is a perfect example.”
Covid-19 services near you
Find out more about Covid-19 vaccinations, book an appointment or find a walk in clinic near you and find out about services for people with or recovering from Covid on the NHS South West London website.Covid-19 vaccinations and services