Free health melas or gatherings run by health professionals have been proving successful across Bolton.
HIVES – Health Inequalities Vaccine Enhanced Service – is an initiative run by Horwich’s Kildonan House Surgery and funded by NHS England.
The project was delivered by local partner SheInspires, and consisted of six health melas in accessible venues in local wards facing the highest levels of health inequalities in the town.
They took place at the 3D Community Centre, Slaterfield Community Centre, Bolton Muslim Girls School, Bolton Sixth Form College and the University of Bolton.
These walk-in events offered access to a range of health professionals for a chat and a hot meal. Around 550 people attended.
Explained one of the professionals involved, Dr John Tabor: “We hope these events will help us understand first-hand some of the barriers people face when accessing care.
“We also hope they will facilitate further awareness and instigate conversations of these issues within our communities.
“They have been well-received by individuals who have attended. It’s been a real privilege to have been involved from the outset and to see the plan come to fruition.”
Gulnaz Brennan, organizer and CEO of the SheInspires group, commented: “It’s been rewarding to be involved in such a meaningful project.
“There are a lot of people that are struggling to afford to heat their homes and, on some occasions, to have a warm meal. We ensured our events offered a warm meal in a warm venue.”
Another of the health professionals involved, Dr Zaheda Atcha, was also a recipient of the 2022 SheInspires’ Woman of Courage Award last November.