I attended this event for the first time today and got a lot from it. I was particularly interested in the combination of the mapping of the LSAOs (Lower Super Output Areas – just a handful of streets, a thousand people or so) done by Andy Bolton of www.kokino-marvo.com and the short piece from Andy Bagley (@andy-bagley1) on evaluating impact – and how these connect with the wider work. Two main thoughts struck me:
- If we were to adopt a geographic route and work with the areas which really are the poorest, how does that feel to the people who live there? Would they want to be focused on in this way? How could that be done appropriately? Mentioning this thought briefly to Mike Chitty, he put it so much better than me: could people who really want to help and have something to offer be invited in by local residents? What would it take to make that happen?
- Should we also map the mental health of the people living in these areas? Given the connections between mental health problems and poverty, the levels would almost certainly be high. Presumably there is the possibility of accessing mental health records for those people who have a formal diagnosis within the NHS. It could well be argued that this could help in targeting better provision of services as suggested by Claire Jones (@ClaireOT) and I’m sure she’s right. I wonder how many people living in these areas have some sort of mental health challenge already but possibly not diagnosed and targeting these LSAOs could open up services. It would need to be accompanied by a range of services (not just healthcare) including in particular peer led. Is there any risk that labelling, given the stigma we know exists, could make it better or worse?
Niccola Swan, Director, Leeds Mind