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BCHC takes healthcare to city homeless

Health day for homeless people
James Ashton gets some dental advice from (centre) specialist registrar Rebecca Willis and dental nurse Kelly Bent.

Accessing health services has been made easier for Birmingham’s homeless community thanks to a partnership between the NHS and a local charity who recently ran a health day for the homeless.

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust worked with charity SIFA Fireside to run a health day for the homeless, bringing a number of services to the charity’s purpose-built drop-in centre in Digbeth.

Services at the event included a podiatry clinic, oral health and dental advice, and a patient advice and liaison service. Health representatives were joined by other local services including West Midlands Fire Service and the A-Team alcohol and healthy living service on the day.

SIFA Fireside runs a drop-in centre offering friendship, hospitality and support to the homeless, unemployed or lonely. They worked with the Trust to co-ordinate a day which combined their usual drop-in services such as free hot meals and group activities such as a drama group, with a health fair.

Birmingham Community Healthcare engagement officer Sheeba Mir said: “The health needs of this unheard community have been neglected in the past, but this is a step in the right direction to challenge this.”

Simon Hackett, from SIFA Fireside, said: “This was a fantastic example of partnership working between different agencies.

“It was very important that various health services in the city came to our drop-in and engaged with our service users directly.

“We also had agencies like Jobcentre Plus on hand to talk to service users about the benefits to their health by volunteering, learning and training which could all be a route back into work.”

 

SIFA Fireside was created from the merger of two charities - Supporting Independance From Alcohol and the Fireside Charity. Based in Digbeth, SIFA Fireside has around 50 staff and a similar number of volunteers. The charity works with those who are homeless, affected by alcohol or otherwise socially excluded to improve their physical, social and mental wellbeing.

Click here to visit the SIFA FIreside website - opens in new window.