Healthier Minds Festival deemed a success

25 August 2022

A detailed report from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’s first Healthier Minds Festival has just been published. The full report can be found here.


The festival which has been highly praised by all of those that attended, took place in May earlier this year. The festival aimed to invite different ethnic minority groups from across the local area together to establish any barriers to accessing services. It also aimed to find out whether people know what support is available locally and where they could go for help.


For those that attended the festival at Telford Cultural and Leisure Centre in Hadley, it was a chance for them to shape and improve local services for themselves and future generations. Community leaders, NHS teams and stallholders from a wide range of voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations and groups were in attendance to meet the communities they serve, discuss with them what is working well and find out the reasons why community members might not be coming forward and making contact with services. 


Throughout the day, a wide range of demonstrations and taster sessions that support and promote a healthier mind such as arts, crafts, music and much more took place. A free lunch was also provided. 


Community leaders and stallholders who attended the festival thought the day was ‘well organised’ and ‘enjoyable.’ Similarly, the venue was a ‘great location’ with a ‘vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.’ 


Most importantly, those who attended the festival gave their thoughts as to why there might be barriers to accessing the services on offer. The most common responses were language barriers, little understanding of NHS offers, concerns over privacy and confidentiality, taboo in the community, lack of trust, tradition, and culture.


They were also asked what could be done to combat these barriers. The suggestions were that there needed to be better language connections and a clearer way to find the services available as many people didn’t have access to the internet. It was strongly recommended that in future more events similar to the festival were planned. Another key point was that they felt there needed to be more black representation in services and the calm café. It was also suggested that services need to reach out more to mosques and temples where people gather as they felt familiar settings and faces will help put communities at ease.


Mayor of the Borough of Telford & Wrekin, Rajash Mehta offered his thoughts on the event: "The Healthier Minds Festival was a great success. It showcased what can be done when different members of the community come together, listen, and learn about each other’s experiences. The day itself was fun, engaging, and informative for all. I hope that this is the first of many events and we can encourage more people from a variety of communities to come forward and talk about their experiences."


Sherrel Fikeis from NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’s Assuring Involving Committee added: “The event drastically improved the community’s confidence in the NHS from the people that I spoke to. Everyone that attended the event went above and beyond to listen and engage with everyone’s thoughts. One lady, in particular, spoke to Simon Whitehouse (CEO for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) about a particular issue and she was so happy that not only did he listen to her on the day, he phoned her back later in the week to discuss the matter further. She has since told everyone how amazing it is that we managed to bring the NHS to her doorstep. This is significant as previously she never really thought the system was interested in their communities. However, she’s realised this isn’t the case. Going forward I think this event has built a foundation of trust which will help us engage with these communities and create a better understanding of what services are available to them.”


With the report now finalised, discussions are underway to try and implement the feedback received on the day to ensure the system can create stronger links with different communities. 

Page last updated 25 August 2022