Shoreditch Park and City Neighbourhoods Forum: Isolation and Social Inclusion
In July 2023, the Shoreditch Park and City Neighbourhoods Forum came together to discuss isolation and social inclusion. The Forum agreed to focus on the health and wellbeing of people seeking asylum living in hotels in Hoxton.
The Neighbourhoods Forum team worked closely with the Asylum Seeker Support Programme Manager at Hackney Council and the Hackney Refugee and Migrant Forum to provide a collaborative space for people seeking asylum, relevant voluntary and community organisations and health practitioners to come together and discuss barriers to support and how to improve access to health and wellbeing activities.
The meeting was attended by over 30 people. Printed invitations were delivered to hotels outlining the event. With support from translation apps attendees heard from residents of their experiences such as difficulties accessing services, access to food, the financial barriers to necessities such as childcare and public transport. People also spoke about the barrier of not speaking English and a need for local free language classes was highlighted.
Following the meeting, attendees enjoyed tea, informal chat and a Kurdish buffet supplied by the Halkevi Centre lunch club, which attendees said it reminded them of food from home. Fruit to eat and to take away was supplied by local surplus organisation Streetbox.
The forum generated a positive discussion where people shared their ideas on how to improve the health and wellbeing of people seeking asylum. This included support from food charity Migrateful who subsequently received a grant from Hackney council to run a summer cookery programme. Also discussed was an offer of free treatment from the NHS Dental outreach team, digital inclusion support in libraries, free SIM cards from Hackney council and access to community cycling schemes. An extensive leaflet on local free services has been created by the Neighbourhoods Forum team and was distributed to all. The Neighbourhoods Forum team has since updated this and new printed copies were delivered to residents at the hotels.
Neighbourhoods Forums are a chance for people living, working, and providing services in their Neighbourhood to come together and have a voice on health priorities and needs. Go to the ‘Your Neighbourhood‘ page to find out what Neighbourhood you are in and get details of the next Neighbourhood meeting you can sign up to.