South East London ‘Anchor’ institutions launch community engagement campaign

Key NHS, higher education and public sector organisations in south east London have launched the local Anchor Alliance Listening Campaign.

04 Aug 2023
Health inequalities

The partners attended a workshop aimed at embedding community organising into how they listen to staff, local communities and service users about what matters to them – and the things that undermine their ability to thrive.

It involves the South East London Integrated Care Board, King’s College London and NHS trusts and local authorities across south east London.

Coordinated by Citizens UK, which plays a pivotal role in the highly successful South London Listens programme, the anchor listening campaign project aims to:

  • Strengthen relationships between the public sector and voluntary and community sector organisations to help address health inequalities as ‘anchor institutions’ – organisations whose resources and influence shape local places and economies through their day-to-day operations
  • Create a shared understanding of the barriers to social and economic wellbeing that seldom-heard communities face and the impact this has on their health
  • Design solutions to these barriers in partnership with south east London communities
  • Strengthen the evidence base for community involvement in anchor practice across south east London.

Kaneez Shaid of Citizens UK, said: “We want the listening campaign to shape the priorities and objectives for the anchor programme’s work across south east London, to ensure the needs and voices of local communities are heard and responded to. Together, we will work with leaders across Citizens UK and communities to identify key themes and hold workshops to develop campaigns and solutions to improve services.

“We will then come together and share our findings from the listening campaign at a community assembly in November where the community will put forward their asks and health leaders and organisations will make specific pledges on what they will act on.”

Andrew Bland, Chief Executive Officer of the South East London Integrated Care Board, said: “One of the key aims in forming integrated care systems was that the NHS and its local partners would support broader social and economic development in their area.

“The anchor programme is an opportunity work in a new way, collaborating with other local ‘anchor organisations’ to boost the health and wellbeing of the people we serve. We can use our social and economic influence in ways that improve the wellbeing of communities, earn their trust and respond to their priorities. Listening to them is the first step in achieving that.”

You can find out how you can take part in the Listening Campaign or the SEL Anchor project here.