A key area of our work moving forward is our Community Outreach Project. We have been running a pilot project in West Yorkshire since the beginning of 2022 and early findings are very positive.
We have been delivering ‘Genes, Family History and Your Health’ creative workshops within diverse and marginalised communities in West Yorkshire. The workshops use arts and crafts to share information about genetics and genetic inheritance. Those taking part create their own piece of artwork that they can take home to share with their families. We also signpost people for additional support and connect them to healthcare professionals, patient organisations, support, and community groups where possible. Uptake of these workshops has been fantastic, and we already have a waiting list.
‘It is good to talk about these things (genetics), it’s good to be open and not to worry and keep it in.’ Workshop Participant
‘We older ones need to know what’s going on and learn so we can tell our children.’ Workshop Participant
‘My father has been diagnosed with Haemochromatosis, but I don’t know much about it except he has to give blood regularly.’ Workshop Participant
We are also planning to deliver Inclusive Genetic Health Workshops to service providers and teaching staff. This will include an overview of genetics, sharing lived experience, tips to identify people with genetic conditions, building bridges and overcoming barriers to support people from diverse and marginalised communities.
A member of the BDB team is part of the Health Equity Fellowship Programme in West Yorkshire and has been partnered with a Public Health mentor to complete a 9-month foundation qualification in Public Health and Health Inequalities with Health Education England and the University of Leeds. We are developing cross sector relationships and sharing the learning from our Community Outreach Project with people across the health and care system in West Yorkshire.
Our plan is to use the learning from the Community Outreach Project pilot, adapt it and then roll it out to other parts of the UK. We will use the data gathered through our project with 3M Healthcare to help us decide on our next location.