The Building Trust Project: Fostering Inclusivity and Equity in Health and Care Services in Hammersmith and Fulham

The Building Trust Project is a groundbreaking initiative that seeks to transform the way health and care services are delivered to black residents in Hammersmith and Fulham. With its core focus on building trust, its guiding principles for transformative change, and a commitment to addressing sensitive topics and promoting inclusivity, this project holds the promise of creating a more equitable and empathetic healthcare system for all. Through collaboration, training, and a commitment to lasting change, it aspires to make a significant impact on the lives of black residents and reduce health inequalities.

Instigated by Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of  Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the Building Trust Project seeks to bring local people together with those in the NHS and council who plan and provide local health and care services.

Working in collaboration with the Council and training provider, Apricot Wellbeing, we are supporting community leaders from the borough’s voluntary and community sector to hold a series of listening events for local black residents, with the aim of creating a shared understanding of how difficult issues like structural racism and poverty affect residents’ experiences of health and care services.

Groups and organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of conversations that can harness the collective wisdom and experiences of people with direct experience of an issue. By facilitating such conversations we can draw on their collective experience and be the building block for building trust people between people and institutions.
Nick Gardham, CEO Community Organisers

The project’s core focus is on building trust with black residents, encompassing individuals of African, Caribbean, and other diverse backgrounds. Unlike broader terms such as ethnic minorities or BAME, this project takes a precise approach, prioritizing the unique experiences and challenges faced by black residents. This approach also ensures that their concerns are at the forefront of the project’s efforts.

Moussa Amine Sylla played a pivotal role in the Building Trust Project, offering his expertise in facilitating, listening skills, and providing guidance to community leaders. Together, they have set out to organise thirteen listening events across the borough, representing the first crucial steps in this groundbreaking endeavour. These events were carefully designed to explore the profound impact of unresolved issues related to race, racism, and inequity on black residents’ interactions with health and care services.

As a senior manager in the NHS, this project has been an eye-opener. The training and discussions have made me more aware of the issues our black residents face. It's time for a change, and the Building Trust Project is the path to that change
June Farquharson, NHS Senior Manager

Guiding Principles for Transformative Change Co Production:

The Building Trust Project is built on a set of guiding principles that steer it toward transformative change. These principles embrace diversity in all its dimensions, actively seek voices from diverse backgrounds, and recognise the evolving definitions of diversity and representation. Furthermore, the project places strong emphasis on cultural competence and support, employing trauma-trained facilitators (Led by Apricot Wellbeing ) to ensure that participants can share their experiences sensitively.

These principles serve as the foundation for project evaluation and guide all professionals involved, fostering understanding and a shared purpose among all stakeholders.

Creating a Secure and Open Dialogue Space

Creating a secure and open space for dialogues is paramount, fostering relationships among residents, community groups, voluntary organisations, NHS, and the Council, with an unwavering commitment to overcoming fear that might hinder essential conversations as been key in the project.

The project places a strong emphasis on the use of intentional language to navigate the diverse cultural, global, and legal meanings when addressing sensitive topics. It boldly confronts discriminatory behaviours, prioritizes education to enhance health and care outcomes for black residents, and is committed to driving long-term change in service delivery.

Collaboration and Sustainability

Collaboration is at the core of the project, emphasising immediate actions over long-term planning. The processes are designed for sustainability, aiming to outlast individuals and the project itself. The project is committed to reducing health inequalities through short-term trust-building.

The Building Trust Project changed my perspective on how we can build stronger connections with our black residents. The listening events allowed us to truly understand their challenges and fears. It's not just about improving health and care services; it's about building trust and relationships
Sharon Tomlin, Community Leader

Moussa Amine Sylla, in his role as Senior Associate, has delivered nine training sessions as part of the project. These sessions have engaged a total of 62 participants, including 48 individuals from various black Voluntary and Community Led Organisations. Notably, the training included the participation of 12 Senior Managers from NHS and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Participants also acquire the knowledge to create secure listening environments, manage group listening sessions, and develop skills for effective community organizing. The curriculum underscores self-awareness, relationship building, and leadership identification, all while equipping individuals to plan and execute impactful listening campaigns and expertly facilitate group discussions, fostering open and meaningful dialogues.

The ultimate goal of the project is to drive lasting changes in health and care services, with a specific focus on addressing the unique challenges faced by black residents, promoting inclusivity, trust, and improved health outcomes.

I attended one of the listening events, and it was an incredible experience. Finally, I felt heard and understood. This project has given our community a voice, and I have hope for better health services in the future
Aicha Mohamed, Local Resident

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