On July 3rd, 2021, BMHS held a walk-in session for the public to get administered the COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Swansea Bay NHS, Swansea Council, and Swansea City Church which was a giant success.
Over 90 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca for over 40s years old were administered and 48 community members who are under 40yrs and are eligible for Pfizer Vaccines were provided transport to the Bay Field Vaccination Centre.
Partners from Swansea Takes On Period Poverty (STOPP) were also on hand at City Church to give out sanitary products.
The attendees include international students, individuals on their Asylum Journey, individuals who are homeless and digitally excluded community members; consequently, ensuring no one is left behind regardless of their race, religion, circumstances, and background.
“We want to optimise the existing resources of the Health Boards in reaching out to the groups who are outside Government priority list or are somewhat off the radar. Some members of these groups are not hesitant to have their vaccines and they include individuals who are homeless, individuals on their Asylum Journey and digitally excluded community members. We also want to ensure that anyone who is hesitant to vaccine has access to relevant information from BMHS in their preferred language to enable them to make informed decisions.” - Alfred Oyekoya, Director BMHS
BMHS have had success in the past with the same grass root level approach in reaching out to hard-to-reach communities and encouraging them to participate in Census 2021. The role of the organisation in the lead-up to Census 2021 was acknowledged by Jason Zawadzki, Deputy Director of 2021 Census Operations for the high response rate that was achieved.
Following BMHS success in raising the profile of Mental Health Act 1983 Reformation consultation, the organisation is currently hosting a series of consultation meetings in several languages on behalf of the Welsh Government with the purpose of contributing to the overall aims and objectives of the Race Equality Action Plan, ensuring it has maximum exposure and consultation feedback.
The BMHS team is a group of over 25 multilingual volunteers who are working, training, and helping many minority groups understand health and mental health - their team addresses culturally sensitive issues by working with community voices to raise awareness and address stigma. From the testimonials and positive personal stories gathered, it is no doubt what they are doing is proving to be very effective and appreciated amongst these groups.
BMHS next mission, post pandemic is to continue to advocate for health equality through the creation of a platform called “Health Advocacy Hub” where health related information including early interventions messages is readily accessible in multiple languages by everyone regardless of their race, religion, and background, consequently saving NHS cost and enhancing public understanding of public health messages.