LifeLine Projects

Creative English supports local health literacy

Thanks to funding from the borough’s Health Inequalities Fund, FaithAction will be delivering Creative English for Health sessions in Barking and Dagenham through a partnership with three local community hubs.

Over the year, the programme aims to reach 225 local residents, who do not speak English as their first language, and help improve their general health literacy, English language skills, and confidence in both areas.

Language is one of the most significant barriers affecting access to healthcare for ethnic minority and migrant groups. People with little or no English language ability feel much less confident about registering for and accessing primary health services and are less likely to do so as a result.

Addressing language barriers and working to address cultural sensitivities prevalent within the borough is key to raising awareness, reducing a wide array of health inequalities, and preventing acute care services from being overwhelmed.

Previous Creative English sessions.

Creative English is a volunteer-led and community-based programme that uses applied drama techniques to engage participants through acting out different scenarios and using props to bring themes and content to life. It is based on the research of the programme author, Dr Anne Smith PhD, who spent several years co-developing the programme alongside the learners it is intended to serve. The result is a fun, drama-based programme which focuses on the role of participatory learning in fostering belonging.

Creative English for Health uses these principles to address a wide range of health inequalities among marginalised/ethnic minority groups who do not speak English as a first language. Primarily, it does so by improving health literacy, English language proficiency, and confidence, thereby overcoming major barriers to accessing healthcare for themselves and their families.

In addition to general health literacy content—such as booking and making the best use of a GP appointment, using NHS 111, and explaining common symptoms and health conditions—the content of the programme addresses topics such as vaccinations, healthy eating, smoking, mental health, heart disease, cancer screening, as well as wider determinants of health, such as poor housing conditions.

For more information about Creative English for Health, please email [email protected].

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Andrew Welsby

Project Officer, FaithAction
Andrew is one of FaithAction’s Project Officers, leading on the Barking and Dagenham Faith Leaders Network, supporting local faith leaders delivering social action projects in their community. He also supports hubs on the Cafe Connect programme, helping new arrivals from Hong Kong.

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