Some people are isolated and some communities lack support structures and are excluded. Communication barriers add to this separation. People need help to access and navigate public services but may be able to self-advocate once they have secured appointments. The Health Promotion Project has identified a gap between interpreting provision and advocacy case work.
A pool of volunteer linguists delivers the project. They are trained in health promotion and community development principles and practices. They reach out and connect with people and communities, locating meeting places, networks, noticeboards and individuals.
Volunteer linguists research translated health information and are helping to build a translated resource library. They distribute key health materials and messages: What to expect from your GP / How to make a complaint / Which urgent care service should I use / How can I keep my home warm.
Volunteer linguists support people to make appointments, understand correspondence, fill in simple forms and appreciate health information. A focus on Healthy Lifestyles has led to referrals to: Health Trainers Service, NHS Health Checks, Healthy Weight Service, Stop Smoking Service and Shape up lifestyle and Fitness.
We have taken a co-production approach to project design, building on the experiences and knowledge of community interpreters who have volunteered their time and skills. This also involves volunteer linguists acting as a Reference Group for local planners to improve understanding of service user need.
The HPP will become more involved in promoting health campaigns: annual flu vaccinations, record sharing, smoking cessation and alcohol and aging. Information will need to be translated. Service users will be supported to make appointments and follow through on actions.
A regular `drop-in` has been developed. Volunteer linguists support self-advocacy by modelling `how to` sessions. Individuals can be referred to SIS bilingual advocacy and community interpreting services. People can be `sign-posted` to other services. Translated information can be shared. People can discuss how to cascade information amongst their networks. Partners can run surgeries about what their services offer.