REACH Community Health Project
Charity registered in Scotland SC047200
The proposed project is aimed at increasing the understanding, knowledge and experience about electronic participation and engagement for accessing Reach’s services and providing feedback on the services. The project will enhance their basic electronic communication skills and improve their social network skills.
The project will be delivered in Glasgow at the Reach premises. The beneficiaries are EM women mainly from a South Asian background.
In order to achieve the above aims Reach will, first of all, update the current website to make it more interactive. This process will involve a) creating an electronic booking system for the walking groups (5 walking groups with 64 members). b) Mental Health counselling booking system to help clients book and cancel their appointments, to help counsellors manage their sessions and counselling partners (GP surgeries) access client progress.
c) Integrate Facebook, Twitter and Youtube into the Reach website.
Concurrently, Reach key staff will receive training on basic management and operation of the interactive sections of the website (external trainers)
3) Organise and deliver 8 workshops of 2 hours each with up to 10 participants in each group to help understand and use the interactive part of the Reach website and general use of social media including group text messaging such as Whatsapp.
4) The workshops will be complemented with hands on experience on using social media tools and using the Reach interactive website booking system. This will involve 2 sessions of 1 hour each per individual with 5 in a group benefiting 80 individuals. The practical sessions will be delivered at 2 libraries i.e. Govanhill Library and Ibrox Library. The practical sessions will be delivered by Reach staff who are trained through external trainers (as mentioned). In addition to the set programmes above the service users will have the opportunity to contact Reach staff if they need support after the delivery of the project.
The proposed project is innovative in a sense that it has specific and predetermined areas to improve and digitise a specific group of EM individuals including service users. It will bring in external partners and make use of existing resources thereby providing better value for money (use of libraries for I.T. service plus the space for workshops).
The other innovative part is that it helps build the technological skills for up to 80 EM individuals in order to not just help their skills but also to help use Reach services (Mental Health Counselling, Employability, Health Walks). The project will build long term knowledge and skills about social media which will help them in future or to engage with others in the community including being able to access services from different agencies. The project also has a long term benefit i.e. by Reach being able to continue to help the service users in electronic engagement.
Evaluation: First phase of the revamping of REACH Community Health Project’s website completed: www.reachhealth.org.uk
The website is now interactive with multiple new features i.e. access of members about the meeting minutes etc., online referral into REACH Services
In the next phase by end of August the website will have eHealth Features - this will allow clients to access their diaries i.e. mental health counselling service users will be able to inform REACH about changes to their appointments and the councillors will be able to update their diary too
The website will allow our partners GPs to access update on their referred patients
There will also be an option for anyone in Scotland to share their experiences of using the NHS service and many more features
Workshops for service users planned from 15th & 16th August, more to updates follow, including on training to staff and training to service users on REACH eHealth features & indeed feedback from the workshop sessions
Attendees included women aged 25 – 65 from Ethnic Minority (EM) backgrounds with the majority from a South Asian background. Workshops were spread across different deprived areas of Glasgow which were Govan, Ibrox and Govanhill. Each individual received 5 weeks of practical training with a workshop. Each week they received 2 hour sessions. In total 45 individuals benefited from the workshops.
We initially planned to deliver the workshops to 80 individuals for 2 weeks each. It was realised that people who were recruited and came forward for the workshop needed more time in order to fully benefit from the sessions. In the end each individual received 10 hours of practical sessions instead of 2 hours.
Key Topics covered were: • Basic understanding of computers and orientation and key features of Microsoft office • Use of the internet and google search • How to use social media; create a Facebook account and an email account • Use of tablets for searching the internet and google
There were pre and post questionnaires provided using the basic digital skills questionnaire which showed progress made and more importantly, the enormous amount of interest being shown by those who participated / benefited from the project. 18 individuals have come forward asking for more sessions. About 10 individuals could not participate due to childcare issues but have shown an interest and agreed to put their name down in the case of childcare support becoming available.
Furthermore, one of the interesting features from the project was that many other women, who have heard about the workshops through friends and family, have been enquiring about future workshops. Though the project has ended in terms of timescale REACH intends to continue to engage with the service users and in particular, those who have benefited from the project to help them to use REACH eHealth features on the website. Another feature of the project was to redevelop the website and enhance the interactive features.
Key benefits of the website: eHealth with individuals able to book appointments with REACH services i.e. counselling agencies including GP practitioners are able to refer clients online. Partners / GP’s will have access to the clients referred by them, allowing them to see the progress of the clients. REACH now has an eLibrary with access to Employability and Health related research and project reports for users to benefit from.
Though not fully functional, through the website, we will pilot a feature which will allow the public to comment on their experience of using Health and Wellbeing services.
We soon hope to launch and showcase our eHealth features of the website and there is certainly a demand for more interactive workshops for EM women in particular. We also have ideas to develop our Mental Health counselling service and digitise, to target more young people with a specialism in EM individuals.
Lessons learned: To bring in support in different languages and provide more time with: Enhanced support for certain EM communities whilst helping to them to learn about IT and in particular, we believe there is a need for more explanation of the benefits of using the internet with specific examples provided.