Representatives from health and wellbeing organisations and faith leaders from across the county met together again on 5th October to continue exploring ways they could work together to improve health of local communities.
The event was initiated and facilitated by FaithAction, the national network of faith-based organisations, in partnership East Northants Faith Group and Cinnamon Network. Building on the Faith Covenant signed by Northamptonshire Council and local faith leaders in 2015, the emphasis was on growing an active partnership between faith groups and the local health services to meet the needs of the local populace. In 2015 the Cinnamon Faith Action Audits identified that Northamptonshire’s Churches and faith groups give £100,000 of their time for free every year to serve their local community. Faith groups offer buildings and facilities in the heart of communities, willing volunteers and a sense of care for the whole person.
The event majored on ways to ensure that faith groups had clear pathways to share information about successful projects with each other and local health and wellbeing organisations, so that local knowledge is shared to improve health and wellbeing. Faith groups were challenged to make connections with local health and care structures so that local health commissioners can build trust with the faith sector and channel resources accordingly. Health and wellbeing representatives were able to hear directly from a large number of the local faith groups who work in this sphere and glean from their experience.
Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director for FaithAction said “People of faith tend to get their sleeves rolled up and get stuck in where the need is. Faith groups have an unrivalled reach into the most isolated and marginalised communities who are often the ones in most need of preventative health and wellbeing services. Bringing this ‘on the ground’ knowledge and expertise together with that of local health services can only improve wellbeing in our communities.”
Claire Proctor of Blackthorn Good Neighbours said “The event was a brilliant way to make links with other professionals and agencies. We were able to learn what each organisation offered and gain a better understanding of how to join up with other agencies to help families.”