Washwood Heath Health and Wellbeing Centre

"People are being referred to the centre for other services and on seeing what an amazing facility is here are asking if they can register as a patient of the practice. Everything is all under one roof and it’s making a real difference to the community who are accessing the services here."

Dawn Smith, Washwood Heath Health and Wellbeing Centre Manager

Located in an area that suffered from a lack of public investment, the population of Saltley has growing health problems, including diabetes and obesity. The community includes several hard to reach ethnic groups, many of whom harbour a traditional reluctance to visit their GP and a number of older patients who need accessible health services on their doorstep. As well as the need to invest in better health facilities, the community also lacked a place to meet and hold public events.

Winning the hearts and minds of the community, BaS LIFT and healthcare design specialists, One Creative Environments Ltd involved the local population from the start, hosting several design workshops and consultation sessions to help shape the facility. The outcome of these sessions ensured the design developed in direct response to the needs of the community including the desire for all services to be accessible from one central atrium - improving wayfinding, ensuring anonymity and allowing for more discreet medical appointments.

The community café has established dedicated healthy eating programmes and a small kitchen garden allows community groups to run ‘Grow, Cook and Eat’ workshops and healthy eating sessions. The multi-purpose community space has already proved extremely popular with local groups such as neighbourhood meetings, women only exercise groups, a diabetes class taught in Urdu, older people’s forum, welfare sessions, family planning sessions, stop smoking sessions and baby clinics.

In addition demand for space by other service providers, such as the local community policing service, is testimony to the growing value and influence the new centre is having within its community as a truly integrated hub to serve the local area.

Washwood Heath is an example of how BaS LIFT can work with multiple partners to combine health and community services in a landmark facility, as well as working directly with GPs to develop primary care centres.

Inspiring a healthy lifestyle

During the construction of the new centre local GP Dr Mohammed Waheed began to organise a health fair to raise local awareness about health issues affecting the largely South Asian communities of the local area. The three-day event signposted services to assist with some of the most pressing health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, and mental health issues and gave tips for a healthy lifestyle.

The fair, which was the first of its kind in the locality, was held on the car park of the new primary care centre construction site and received positive media coverage and attracted lots of local visitors.