Charities unite to tackle health inequalities

September 1, 2021

The Government announced today that it has welcomed new members to the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Backed by £2m a year, members including Age UK, Barnardo’s, Homeless Link, Hospice UK, National Autistic Society and Samaritans, will work together to promote good health and tackle inequalities across the UK.  The Government said people’s voices and lived experiences will continue to be at the centre of health policy development and work to level up the UK.

Membership to the alliance is awarded through a competitive tendering process. Members receive grant funding on an annual basis of up to £100,000 for their core work.

The refreshed 19 Alliance members will represent the views of social care workers and older people, people bereaved by suicide, children and young people, people with learning disabilities and autism, those with mental health conditions, LGBTQ+ communities and minority communities, including refugees and Gypsy, traveller and Roma communities.

For example, pregnancy charity Tommy’s, heading up a maternity and neonatal consortium, will ensure views from a maternity and child loss perspective are represented in policy decisions ahead of the Women’s Health Strategy launching later this year and the British Red Cross will represent all those affected by crisis, including those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 such as refugees and asylum seekers.

The new Office for Health Promotion will also launch later this year and will spearhead national efforts to level up the health of the nation and close the gap on disparities.

The Government said the Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a key element of the Health and Wellbeing Programme and the alliance has already helped shape policymaking.

Health Minister, Helen Whately said, ‘The Health and Wellbeing Alliance is one of the key ways to ensure a range of voices are heard and reflected in government policy - their insight is invaluable. This refreshed membership of 19 charities is a fantastic opportunity to ensure we continue to hear from the most underrepresented voices and make sure important health messages reach those they affect the most.’

Naomi Phillips, Director of Policy and Advocacy, British Red Cross, said, ‘COVID-19 has highlighted ​more than ever that where you are born, grow-up, live and work affects your health. Over the past year, health inequalities have been exposed and exacerbated - but there's also a renewed impetus to work across specialisms and sectors to address the issue and its underlying factors. Working with and through the Alliance, through fresh research with a focus on policy and practice change, the British Red Cross is committed to ensuring people can access the care and support they need, without falling through the gaps – no matter who they are or where they live.’

Visit the NHS website to read more about the Alliance.

The #BetterPay4SocialCare Action Week will be taking place from Monday 6th to Friday 10th September. To help raise awareness of care worker pay, 28 social care organisations across the country will be urging people to sign the petition.

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