Thursday, 28 September 2023
Last week, community organisations came together with NHS and Local Authority Leaders in Sutton to launch the Be Well programme.
Last week, community organisations came together with NHS and Local Authority Leaders in Sutton to launch the Be Well programme. The event was hosted by Citizens UK as part of the South London Listens programme, and introduced by Ann Beasley, Chair of South West London and St George’s and Sutton Cllr Bobby Dean.
The launch of the programme in Sutton marks the last of the five boroughs in south west London who committed to establish Hubs as part of the flagship South London Listens programme.
South London listens is a unique programme developed in response to covid 19 – bringing the power of community organising to prevent mental ill-health and tackle the root causes of poor mental health. NHS and Local Authorities are working with communities across south London in partnership with Citizens UK.
At the meeting, Citizens UK shared stories of how Be Well hubs have developed so far across south London. Community leaders talked about the challenges faced locally and the work already underway to tackle mental health. The group then explored opportunities to build the programme in Sutton over the coming months.
Trust Chair and co-Chair of South London Listens Ann Beasley said: ‘Be well hubs are central to South London Listens. Through them, we’re working in partnership with community organisations to support them to take action on mental health. We’re training leaders to better understand mental health and signpost for help. We’re developing new connections and relationships between organisations and the statutory services, so we can listen and take action - building trust where it is needed more.’
Sutton’s Mental Health Champion Councillor Bobby Dean said: “It was really great to see so many of our community’s leaders show up to this event and take an interest in improving mental health support in our borough.
“What excites me about the Be Well Hubs concept is it is driven by local people. They can adapt the model to make it work for their own organisation and networks, rather than the sort of top-down approaches that tend not to work.
“It’s early days at the moment but people have already shown great enthusiasm, so I’m excited to see how it develops in the coming months.”
Kes Gill-Martin, Associate Organiser - Local Communities + Health Organising, South London said: ‘It was great to see so many people from such a range of organisations come together to hear about Be Well Hubs. This level of interest in metal health and community gives me great encouragement that this scheme can work well in Sutton. I'm already receiving follow ups from people who are interested in attending the trainings and becoming part of the Be Well Hubs network".
Be Well Hubs
Made up of libraries, faith groups and community organisations, the hubs have been set up within organisations to develop safe spaces for local people to turn to when they feel their mental health is low or simply to feel more connected with their local community.
The hubs’ main purposes are to de-stigmatise mental health, to use community organising principles to build strong relationships with local health services, and to organise leaders to listen and take action on the barriers and systemic problems impacting mental health. They also report back on key themes and trends from their communities.
The Hubs are part of a wider Be Well Champions programme, which aims to develop the capability and capacity of community and voluntary organisations to support the wellbeing of local people and to strengthen collaborations between health services and voluntary organisations