We held our first CHAD seminar of 2017 on Wednesday 1st February, focussing on homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent. The seminar was well attended by representatives from the Council, Clinical Commissioning Group, Police and Charity organisations as well as staff and students from the University.
Dr Rachel Massie, Research Associate at CHAD, was our first speaker. She presented the findings of a study focussed on street activity and rough sleeping in Hanley city centre. The research aimed to understand what is happening currently and what could be done to help to improve the situation.
We used a participatory appraisal methodology to build community knowledge and encourage collective action around this important topic. Fundamental to this piece of work is that it uses first-hand accounts of homeless people alongside the views of local businesses, charities and public sector organisations. Expert Citizens collected the data and spoke to eight individuals who were perceived to be homeless and/or engaging in street activity and ten wider stakeholders.
This was a collaborative research project between CHAD, Staffordshire University, VOICES and Expert Citizens. The study, which took place between September and November last year, is our first completed project.
The presentation highlighted key messages from the report around multiple and complex needs, including: the importance of a coordinated/multi-agency approach; opportunities for service users to have a voice and input into the process; and making use of the many assets available (people, organisations and places) within the city. The presentation can be downloaded here.
“…as a partnership we need to come up with ways to tackle the issue. We all need to work together before we start to take things to another level.”
“I want to start volunteering. I don’t want to keep sitting on my backside and doing nothing because that’s when I get bored and start drinking and using and things like that.”
Discussions with local services have already suggested the recommendations are having a local impact, and we hope this continues to grow amongst all stakeholders across the city. The full report is available to download here.
Our second presentation was led by Andy Meakin, Director of VOICES, with Paul Astley, Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent, and Jo Cutts, Expert Citizen. They spoke about the Gatekeepers Report, which looked at access to GP services for homeless people.
This was a joint report of collaborative research between Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent, Expert Citizens, and VOICES. The study was designed to test the accessibility of GP practice services for people that are homeless and have no identification. Expert Citizens conducted a mystery shop of 47 practices across Stoke-on-Trent. The results led to national media coverage and questions in the Houses of Parliament.
The presentation is available to download here.
The Gatekeepers report is available to download here.
After the presentations, the audience were invited to ask questions and engage in small group discussions, which led to networking and potential future collaborations.
We would like to thank all the presenters and the audience for their valuable input. We are looking to develop the work on individuals with multiple and complex needs within our Health Inclusion research theme.
If you want to find out more about other events and seminars CHAD have organised – please visit our calendar of events page here.