Last year, the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex  funded six 'Priorities for Care research projects' to help provide creative solutions to the provision of health and care services across the region.

The Evaluation of Growing Health Together (GHT) was one of the projects funded. GHT promotes partnership with communities to co-create an environment where health is improved. The initiative focuses on the assets of the community and encourages people living and working in East Surrey to improve their own health and wellbeing.

Researchers at the Centre for Health Service Studies (CHSS) at the University of Kent are currently evaluating the implementation and impact of the programme to help identify the facilitators and barriers to success.

Their first task involved completing a 'mapping exercise' of GHT activities and partnerships to explore how the programme is being rolled out locally. This involved meeting with five GP Leads to ask them about how GHT has evolved and the ways in which health activities are implemented in their area. Preliminary themes arising from the exercise include:

  • Taking time to build and nurture relationships
  • Creating connections
  • A variety of ways of establishing the needs of the community
  • Enhanced empowerment of GPs, in addition to community members
  • Flexibility in terms of the type of support and geographical areas.

Since then, the team has been undergoing research fieldwork, incorporating observations, interviews and an online survey, in three case study sites: Horley, Redhill and South Tandridge. You can read all about the team's reflections of the research fieldwork that is being undertaken in a recent CHSS blog post here.

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