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Voices Women's Group & Turf Lodge Pharmacy

BCCP project

Healthier for longer

Voices Women’s Group is based in the Turf Lodge area of West Belfast and provides women with opportunities to address needs around health and wellbeing in a safe and supportive environment. The group was awarded £10,000 for a Level Two BCPP project following on from previous successful Level One and Level Two projects.

After consultation between Pharmacist Jarlath McCarthy and the women in the group, an appealing programme was designed to address the wider wellbeing needs of local older women. Within the group of women, some had poor physical health including chronic pain, some suffered from mental health issues and many experienced isolation and hopelessness and were also concerned about their personal safety.

Low income, low health literacy skills and low self confidence also prevailed within the group. As in all BCPP projects, a mix of Pharmacist led sessions and community led sessions were planned and would be delivered in a supportive and non judgemental environment. This ‘Healthier for Longer’ programme aimed to take a holistic view of the health and social needs of these women, their families and their communities by facilitating the exploration of issues impacting negatively on their health and wellbeing.

During the 17 sessions, community organisations such as Advice NI and WRDA came in to talk to the members along with the Pharmacist about their services and the support on offer. PIPS delivered a workshop on suicide awareness and self-harm and the PSNI’s Community Safety Team delivered a session on personal safety and anti-social behaviours in the area. Comments from the participants were very positive, one saying she enjoyed the open and frank discussions, another saying it was great to get to know the Pharmacist and all the services a Pharmacy offers including the Minor Ailments Scheme which she was not even aware of! Overall feedback on the BCPP project was that it encouraged all of the women to go and find help and additional advice outside the usual GP appointment.

"By taking part in the programme, I realised the extent of the health problems and effects of the social determinants of health in the local area. Throughout the programme, we discussed a range of topics and I gained a degree of trust with the women in the group - they now know that they can approach me at any time. After the learning from the BCPP programme, I am now in a great position to offer advice and signpost the women on to someone that can help them further."

Jarlath McCarthy, Pharmacist

 

"The BCPP programmes have had a hugely positive impact on relationships between local residents and our Pharmacy and we continue to grow this relationship further. The project participants are now using the minor ailments scheme effectively and consider their local Pharmacist as the first port of call when they, or family members, experience health issues. The programme has been a very positive experience for both me and the group, giving the women the opportunity to discuss some sensitive subjects in a safe and supportive setting."

Nuala Barr, Development Officer, Voices Women’s Group