FFT named as Strategic Partner to the UK Department of Health

30 June 2017

Friends, Families and Travellers to join government health initiative to stand up for Gypsy and Traveller rights and improve health outcomes.

The Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England have launched the new Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HW Alliance). The HW Alliance will amplify the voice of the VCSE sector and people with lived experience to inform national policy, facilitate integrated working between the voluntary and statutory sectors, and co-produce solutions to promote equality and reduce health inequalities. Twenty one HW Alliance members have been selected for their reach into communities across England.

After over 20 years of dedicated health campaigning and policy work, and with over forty health and social care outreach projects under their belts , Zoe Matthews, former nurse and Co-Director of FFT stated “we are thrilled to announce that we have recently been named as one of the Department of Health's Strategic Partners. We hope to use this opportunity to promote the Inclusion Health agenda, to voice the concerns of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, families and individuals, and to do so in collaboration with other Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations and their respective networks.”

Zoe, who is also a Trustee of National Voices (a coalition of over 130 health and social care charities) said, FFT have been campaigning to advance the inclusion health agenda and in particular to work more collaboratively with other health inclusion organisations, to show that many of the issues faced by Gypsies, Roma and Travellers around accessing health and social care services, are in fact shared with other marginalised groups, many of whom will also experience poor health outcomes. By joining forces we will become a louder voice, and we need to be shouting about this inequity in 2017.

The work that FFT does at its grassroots includes dedicated support and outreach on health improvement, support into mental health services, we also have trained over 40 community members in the Royal Society of Public Health Levels 1-2 in Basic Health Awareness. In addition to this FFT work with service providers across the country to improve their services for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

We are looking forward to working with other Health and Wellbeing Alliance partners to address health inequalities at the heart of the health and social care policy and practice, and to make sure that Gypsies, Roma and Travellers will be involved in helping to make person centred care a reality for all of us- Whatever our back ground!

FFT will be disseminating information from the HW Alliance and are happy to bring your issues, reports and queries to the partnership and to promote any further opportunities for involvement or collaboration as they come up. Please contact us on: 01273 234777 or sign up to our newsletter for more information.