- Project run by Public Health Wales, in partnership with Tai Pawb, an organisation promoting equality and social justice in housing in Wales, and the Wales Strategic Migration Partnership, which provides leadership, consultation and coordination on migration in Wales.
- Part of our programme to take action on the social determinants of health – the political, social, economic, environmental and cultural factors which shape the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. This project will focus on the role of community cohesion and connection in shaping our health.
- Will test the impact of an asset-based community development approach on building the social networks of social housing tenants and people seeking sanctuary (asylum seekers and refugees)
- Will engage 50 people from these groups and help them identify community assets and local barriers to integration, health and wellbeing.
There is evidence that social housing tenants and asylum seekers more commonly suffer from mental health issues, financial and economic deprivation, and isolation than other groups of people. The media and political discourse rarely acknowledges their assets, such as resilience and capacity for entrepreneurship and self-care.
Effective integration, of which social connections are a foundation, is a crucial part of health and wellbeing, in particular for migrant populations. Several studies have shown that social networks and social participation are positively associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, and that people with stronger networks are healthier and happier.
This project will test whether engaging different parts of a neighbourhood in identifying community assets and increasing participation can contribute to higher levels of social capital (networks of relationships), which improve physical and mental health and wellbeing in both groups.
The project will empower local residents to participate in their community by improving their skills and confidence, and by training local stakeholders and services to engage with a diverse range of local residents in their service planning and delivery.
A test site will be chosen where residents include both people seeking sanctuary and social housing tenants.
Small-scale workshops will be held to identify community assets and barriers which are common for both groups. The groups will be supported to use and build on existing resources and networks to tackle those barriers together.
It is anticipated that the project will formulate an approach that leads to greater public understanding of the range of communities in their local area, and improved relationships between people seeking sanctuary, and settled communities in Wales.
Following evaluation, a toolkit will be created to support local service providers to more effectively engage with groups at risk of exclusion.