I believe that central to any action to improve health or reduce health inequalities have to be powerful and active citizens with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and and accountable local leadership with the voluntary and community sector playing a key role.
I’ve worked in the voluntary, local government and national government sectors for quite a long time!
In the 80‘s working for the Federation of Lewisham Tenants and Residents I ran a successful campaign to remove asbestos from council housing – much of this based on the inspirational work of Alan Dalton – his book Asbestos – Killer Dust – led to tenant campaigns across the country.
While working for Sheffield City Council I worked alongside carers of older people with a learning disability to establish in the late 1990s the then unique carer led service ‘Sharing Caring’.
Later as the Healthy City Co-ordinator for Sheffield among other things I founded the successful ‘Chance to Dance Festival’ an annual street dance festival that is part of the Sheffield Festival Calendar and I am currently its chair.
While working for the Regional Public Health Group in Yorkshire and Humber I established two significant programmes – the first, a collaboration between local authorities in the region to reduce health inequalities – Minding the Gap . The second – Altogether Better a £7million BIG lottery funded initiative which was developed in partnership with all local authority areas in the region. It has so far trained over 20,000 health champions in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the region. It is not prescriptive; participants have moved on to become activists, volunteers, and to further training and employment. It is now developing community led service models to help people manage diabetes and increase use of initiatives such as NHS Lifecheck.
I also designed and led a successful national strategy for the Department of Health driving forward the development of local Joint Strategic Needs Assessments. Central to this was a strong collaboration with the LGA and the Voluntary Organisation Disability Group.
Until June 2022 I was a lay member on Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group. I was the chair of the Strategic Engagement, Experience and Equality Committee and Vice Chair of the Primary Care Commissioning Committee – I also lead alongside a Governing Body GP colleague work on primary care and inequalities. In the last two years of its existence I was also the Deputy Chair.
I have am currently:
- a professor at Leeds Beckett University focussing on their outward facing work supporting local health systems strengthen their relationship with the public and the voluntary sector.
- Involved as an activist with a range of voluntary organisations that include: