Partnership working was at the heart of a Health and Wellbeing Day held In Kingston earlier this month, aimed at supporting people experiencing homelessness, refugees and those seeking asylum in South West London.
The event, held at Kingston United Reformed Church on 15 March, saw colleagues from health and care organisations, working together to provide a range of useful services.
Almost 80 attendees came along on the day and were able to access COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, testing for HIV and Hepatitis, a chance to have an appointment with a GP and access to support for any worries they might have around addiction and their mental health. There was also a healthy lunch available, haircuts and a chance to pick up clothes from Spear Clothing Project .
Dr Naz Jivani, a local GP in Kingston, said: “During the pandemic, more than ever, we have realised that there are certain communities and parts of the population that can be really isolated, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness. What has been paramount is how health and care services have come together to support them, not just with housing and care, but also other vital services like community support for mental health and addiction. Working together across Kingston has been shown to be really effective and these populations have, and will continue, to benefit from us all working together. Today is a perfect example”
John Kay, an attendee who describes his living circumstance as ‘sofa surfing’, said: “I came to have my haircut today which is brilliant, Julia has made a great job of it. I also came to see the ladies at the clothing bank who I have known for years. I think an event like this is useful as you end up coming across other services that you might not have set out to see but turn out to be useful.”
Martha Earley, from the Public Health team at Kingston Council, also attended the event, she added: “Today has been a great example of how working together can make a big difference for specific population groups who may otherwise experience barriers to accessing essential services. It has been brilliant having the chance to talk to people attending the event today and hear first-hand about what services they need to best support them. I have spoken to people who came to get a vaccine and others who have accessed support for the challenging situations they are facing. Working together like this means we can offer so much more in a really accessible way.”