The aim is to increase the reach of the hospice by engaging with local ethnic minority communities in an area of increasing diversity.
Using an empirical approach without a specific timeframe, we started by giving talks and presentations about hospice services to predominantly Asian audiences. This was a slow process and within a year we changed our strategy by targeting influential members of the local Asian community instead. We formed trusting relationships over time with the leader of the Council of Mosques, the editor of the local Asian newspaper, local councillors and leading Asian businessmen and women. Those leaders then introduced us to community groups, speaking alongside hospice representatives to add a voice of authority and trust, and effectively making people sit up and listen.
The effects were almost immediate, with a significant increase in people from the local Asian community using hospice services. Word of mouth from those using hospice services, together with new relationships formed through Asian community leaders, has tripled the members from the Asian community that have used the hospice in the past year.
In April, ConnectUK – a local charity which promotes diversity and includes several local leaders in the Asian community – decided to help the hospice on the back of strong relationships already formed. The group, forged by the community for the community, are producing literature on the benefits of the hospice service and planning talks throughout the mosques, community centres and other influential places in the area. Their motto – what unites us is greater than what divides us – feels an apt description of the journey so far by the hospice and Asian community.
To be successful, you have to target the most influential, those with the ear and trust of the local community. By working closely together, much can be achieved.
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