An #inclusivity story from NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Communications Team...
The rollout of the vaccine programme brought into sharp focus the need for us to ensure we communicate with our whole community here in north Cumbria.
That meant challenging ourselves - do we reach all the groups of people who call our area their home? The answer was - we were trying, but we had to do better.
We took a countywide approach working with colleagues at Morecambe Bay CCG and in the public health team at Cumbria County Council, as well as those that had links into people living here who may have had English as a second, third or fourth language.
While we lived with covid restrictions, we initially focused on providing information online in a range of languages.
We have a very small ethnic minority population in Cumbria compared to some of our neighbouring counties and cities. We quickly agreed we should ensure we provided information and made it available on our website and promote the page widely. The webpage is here: https://northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/covidvaccine/covid-vaccine-leaflets-alternative-languages-and-accessible-formats
As new guidance became available in alternative languages, we posted it on social media and asked people to act as allies - ‘if you have friends or neighbours who would find this information helpful please share it with them’:
Despite our website appearing at number 3 in the Google rankings for alternative language information, we knew simply making the information available was nowhere near enough.
A small group of colleagues working in inclusion roles met and identified individuals who could help, and wider groups and networks who would be vital in sharing the information.
Naz was kind enough to allow us to film her receiving her vaccine, and her video has been shared in both English and Malay:
We reached out to the Multicultural Cumbria and Furness Multicultural Forums who have language and diaspora networks in our community, and provided information for them to share and offered to be a link for those asking questions, raising concerns and seeking support from those communities with trusted advice and guidance. More information is available here: https://multiculturalcumbria.org.uk/category/covid-19/ and https://www.facebook.com/FMCFyouthclub
Colleagues at Cumbria County Council used their school census information to identify the top languages spoken, which were:
We prioritised these languages as the guidance developed and changed.
We then targeted those languages on social media. It picked up some queries from our community, which we used as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of reaching out to everyone in our local area:
We have also worked with Cumbria County Council to access some funding for our partner forums to enable them to reach out through their networks and plan to build stronger links between our diverse communities and health services. We are planning to offer drop-in sessions on health issues identified through those networks as we get used to living with covid.
Huge thanks to Saj and Janine for their invaluable support.