Innovation Fund Feedback from our friend Maura at Yarrow Housing.
Yarrow Housing was awarded the Innovation Fund to facilitate an awareness and education event about Prostate and Testicular cancer for men with learning disabilities.
Maura stated that the event was co-produced with individuals with lived experience and this really supported their awareness on how the issue could be addressed. The group felt that it was important that the afternoon was a celebration of men and men’s issues and to have enough time for everyone to get to know each other.
Maura said that it helped enormously by having the funds to purchase a variety of games and have them available in an adjoining room, games such as bowls, football, air hockey, darts, skittles, connect 4 etc (Be Active), as well as lots of delicious food.
Maura stated that the event was a huge success with over 70 people attending from all over the Tri-borough. There was an interactive talk that was given by the Uro-Oncology team from Charing Cross Hospital and accessible information was available for individuals to take home.
An attendee with lived experience delivered a presentation detailing his journey and what living with Prostate Cancer was like and the importance of being checked and tested, which had a significant impact on everyone attending.
Maura stated that one thing that became apparent during the event was the need for men to have their own private space so that they could address issues that were important to them. This was achieved on the day by having a separate space for private discussions either with the Health team or the staff that provided support on the day.
During the event Yarrow staff collected names of participants interested in getting involved in a Men’s group. They were then contacted individually to see who would be interested in co-producing the group and 5 individuals volunteered (Give).
They met on the 19th December and the group decided that the best way to get people involved and interested in joining was to hold a launch event, promoted as a celebration of men including lunch and games. This was organised and advertised throughout H&F, K&C and Westminster. The follow up of the Men’s group lunch was attended by 40 men with lived experience.
Everyone had the opportunity to say what they would like to get out of the group and plans was made to meet one Saturday every month and take part in activities including watching football, eating out, going to the theatre, bowling etc.
The group decided that they didn’t want it to be structured, but for it to be fun and give people the opportunity to talk to their peers (connect) about things that are important to them. The lunch was so successful that new friendships were made instantly, and a group went off to watch QPR play at home that very afternoon with 20 individuals attending to watch the Fulham match on the 7th March.
The men’s had to be postponed for a while due to Covid-19, until Yarrow and Certitude could roll out new technology in services as well as ensuring that all services have sufficient broadband to meet the need so the groups could go online. Maura said that staff and the people they support will also receive training on how to use the new IPAD’s and relevant app’s. The meetings will be conducted on-line via Zoom and / or TEAMS until Covid 19 restrictions are reviewed and group meetings can once again take place.
Maura fed back: “Going forward we are looking to run two more awareness campaigns focusing on Breast and again revisiting Prostate and Testicular. This is particularly important this year as general health has been over shadowed by Covid-19. Both awareness events will take place virtually and will be hosted by people with lived experience as well as the specialists in these areas. They will be held in October and November and will be supported by both Yarrow and Certitude.”
Maura fed back: “A steering group is also being planned so that the Men’s group can re-start and reach out to people in their own homes”.