Last week we were excited to host our first virtual Annual Meeting.
We brought together over 80 Healthwatch Central West London members, stakeholders, volunteers, staff, trustees, external colleagues and local people to present our annual report and showcase our work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though we could not meet in person, we had a fantastic turnout, and it was great to see so many familiar faces.
We normally hold our annual meetings in person. Last year we met at Kensington Town Hall. The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to look back on our work, meet with local people and other colleagues and begin to plan for the future. This year, we had to find a new way to bring us all together and tell the story.
To do this, we worked with Anna Geyer, an artist from NewPossibilities, who created a visual record of our work on COVID-19 over the past nine months. We shared this with all attendees and talked about aspects of our work in detail during short discussion sessions during the meeting.
Who did we hear from?
At the meeting we heard short presentations from our chair Christine, our treasurer Layo, our CEO Olivia and Patient Participation Group Coordinator Odeta, who talked about our work on our COVID-19: Your Experience Matters survey. Carena, our Programme Manager, chaired the meeting.
We were delighted to also welcome Kiki, to talk about some of our collaborative work together.
Kiki is a member of Women’s Association for Networking Development (WAND), an organisation that works to empower women and address the problems facing women in isolated and excluded communities. This year we collaborated with WAND on some COVID-19 engagement work. We ran a focus group to highlight the experiences of under-represented communities during the pandemic. In the meeting, Kiki talked about the challenges faced by BAME communities and the assistance that WAND provided.
Alongside Kiki, it was a pleasure to hear from Civan, Rupert, and Ava, three of our Young Healthwatch Westminster (YHWW) Volunteers. They talked about their experiences volunteering for YHWW and the group’s plans for next year.
Civan is the chair of YHWW and has been with the group for over a year. In the meeting, Civan opened the discussion with his experiences in YHWW and his role in the Mental Health Survey. Working with YHWW on the design and creation of the survey, he discussed how crucial the survey was in capturing young people’s views on mental health and existing services.
Rupert, a volunteer of YHWW, spoke passionately about the YHWW mental health survey he has been involved in. In particular, he told us how much he enjoyed crunching the data and picking out trends in the survey. He spoke about going on CNWL’s One Community Radio show, sharing YHWW work with residents, service users, NHS staff and community organisations, and learning about the inspirational work being done in Westminster.
Ava, our newest volunteer of YHWW, gave an inspirational speech on the mental health campaign she’s been working on. She spoke about the different skills she has learnt during this process, and her appetite to make real change to mental health services. Her enthusiasm and passion to ensure the health needs of young people are properly addressed really shone through in her speech. We are proud to have such dedicated young volunteers as part of our organisation.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Kiki, Civan, Rupert, Ava, Christine, Layo, Olivia and Carena for speaking.
What did we talk about?
We are always looking to hear from people and learn about their experiences. As part of the meeting, we held short discussions in small groups to find out how attendees had managed during the COVID-19 pandemic, how they had engaged with us, what they thought we were doing well, and how they thought we could improve. Across the discussion groups, there were a number of recurring themes.
Many attendees brought up concerns and questions relating to the COVID-19 vaccine. Attendees wanted to know more about any vaccine’s safety, how it has been developed, and how it works. Some attendees wanted to know how the NHS plan to roll-out the vaccine to the public, and what the schedule for this will be.
We have found that the topic of the vaccine is one that is often brought up by people in our recent engagement work. We know that it is a topic that is very important to local people. As the vaccine roll-out begins, we will communicate important information through our website, and will continue to listen to local people’s thoughts and experiences on the vaccine through our ongoing engagement on COVID-19.
Many attendees also brought up the topic of digital exclusion. Attendees told us that this year has brought the issue into focus. With more healthcare taking place virtually as a result of COVID-19, the exclusion of people who do not access healthcare digitally has increased.
Digital exclusion is important. We have begun significant work on this topic and will be able to share more details very soon.
Young Healthwatch Westminster
Many attendees praised our Young Healthwatch Westminster group. They talked highly of the work of the group, of the volunteers who presented at the meeting, and at our plans for the future. Some attendees told us that they would like to hear more from YHWW. We will be showcasing their work more over the coming months across our website, social media and in person!
Our recent engagement work
We were touched by the many attendees who praised our engagement work on COVID-19 over the past few months. Attendees told us the information we have provided through our reports, emails, website, and physical information packs was clear and useful. Since the pandemic began, we wanted to talk to as many people as possible, from across the local community, to help influence local health and social care provision during this period. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue this work, and continue to speak to people from across the community including to those who find it most difficult to be heard. We will continue to feedback our work and our findings as widely as possible.
It was lovely to see so many people at our meeting. Thank you to everyone who attended for sharing their experiences and helping us with our work this year.
Olivia Clymer, our CEO, said:
“I was delighted and encouraged that so many people came along to our Annual Meeting. I know December is such a busy time with lots of competing demands on people’s time, so I want to say a big thank you to everyone who came. The insights we learned from our conversations at the meeting were so valuable and are already being shared.
Have a safe and peaceful Christmas.”
Get in touch
Take our updated ‘Coronavirus: Your Experience Matters’ survey now.
If you require the survey in a different format, or you would like a physical copy of the survey, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you wish to just leave us a single comment on how you have been impacted by Coronavirus, please click here
- Send a text or a video to our Whatsapp number: 07849 08 40 14
- Join the conversation on our NextDoor group
- Be part of our Facebook group
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- Send us a picture that reflects how you are coping on our Instagram
- Call us on 020 8968 7049