LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
This report, published in association with FaithAction, looks at how local authorities and faith groups can work together to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of communities. It also highlights examples of good practice from across the country, and from different faiths, to demonstrate the wide range of activity taking place. The report covers how faith groups can improve health outcomes and tackle health inequalities; the benefits of joint working for councils, health organisations and faith groups; barriers to collaboration and what local authorities can do to make sure the widest range of groups are involved; and looks at ways of establishing effective partnerships and activities, including through adopting the national Faith Covenant. The report includes questions for councils and faith groups to assess whether there is more that can be done to work well together. It also signposts to useful resources for further learning and action.
Summarises research evidence on the relationship between faith and health, and on the role of faith communities in improving health and reducing health inequalities. It also provides an overview of faith in the UK and the health problems prevalent within different ethnic and faith communities. The literature was identified through searches carried out on a range of databases and organisational websites, and was structured into two ‘strands’. Strand one looks at how faith based organisations represent communities with poor health outcomes, and provide an opportunity for public health services to access these ‘hard to reach’ groups. Strand two looks at how the social and spiritual capital gained by belonging to a faith community can result in physical and mental health benefits and mitigate other determinants of poor health. Findings from the review included that regular engagement in religious activities is positively related to various aspects of wellbeing, and negatively associated with depressive symptoms. There was also evidence to show that volunteering can positively affect the health and wellbeing of volunteers, and that faith communities represent a large proportion of national volunteering. The report provides recommendations for faith-based organisations and public health bodies, on how they might work effectively in partnership to realise the potential for faith groups of improving health and wellbeing.
This briefing reviews recent research on social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, who are often seldom heard in mainstream services. It draws out messages for social care micro-providers and social care commissioners, focusing on two areas: the marginalising dynamics in mainstream, statutory social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics; and how local community, specialist or small-scale services are responding to unmet need for support and advice among marginalised groups. The majority of research identified looked at issues and experiences of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, with a large number of studies dedicated to understanding the role of family carers, particularly from South Asian backgrounds. A smaller body of work on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) older people and carers was found. Similarly, a number of research studies on support for and by refugees and asylum seekers were identified. Some research on the role of faith was also found. By comparing research findings across several groups, common issues about engagement with mainstream services and the function of community based and specialist support became apparent. The main themes and messages coming from the research for commissioners and providers focus on: strategies for responding to marginalisation from the mainstream, including assets and community mobilisation, reciprocity and social inclusion, informal networks and self-organisation; accessing and engaging with mainstream provision, highlighting issues of fear of discrimination, uniformity and homogenisation, language and communication; relationship dynamics between large, traditional mainstream and small, specialist community, including capacity building and partnerships, advocacy and accessing mainstream support, choice and voice; understanding informal support in diverse communities, in which a key role is played by culture, stigma and shame, well-being, identity and resilience, and faith; and effective approaches, including emotional and social support, and non-conventional, networked and holistic support.