Last week we met with Nigel Farnworth and Russell Hogarth, who in 2012 after many years of voluntary work in both the community and in higher education co-founded The Creative Communities Group network. An inspiring initiative that is now a catalyst and model of best practice for Community and University partnerships. Their work focuses on breaking the barriers between local communities and Universities by channelling the knowledge that is accumulated in the University environment into the local communities that can directly benefit from it.
And how do they do it?
One of the examples of raising awareness of the importance of health is their work in helping to organise and facilitate public health events [Health Melas] each year across the north-west of England.
The Health Mela’s (mela = fair, gathering) take place within the community and within both universities and high schools. Each Health Mela is attended by approximately 2,000 community members and supported by on average 50 university medical students working alongside community volunteers, NHS clinicians, doctors and nurses. The aim of the activity is to carry out community health checks on the public, often the hardest to reach in society, and give them advice on healthy living and well-being. The local teaching hospital staff, including the medical teams and members of the pathology department are involved in the activities.
TOWARDS A BETTER TOMORROW
The network has for a number of years been delivering, in both the community and in higher education, dedicated “lived experience” conference workshops and classroom seminars titled “towards a better tomorrow”. The workshops and related Diversity conferences are designed to inspire visitors by promoting and celebrating people who are successful despite perceived obstacles such as disability, mental health issues, poverty, gender, race and sexual discrimination.
SOLIDAR Foundation is looking forward to further cooperation between CCG and our members to learn about new ways of creative and inclusive education and work towards inclusive societies.