Welcome to our round up of what’s happening at Forum Central

We hope you are all keeping safe, well and in good spirits. It’s been a while since our last member update, hopefully you have been keeping informed through attending some of our various member meetings and our weekly bulletin.

This update contains key information about the work that Forum Central is engaged with at the moment and over the last few months across Health & Care and our specialisms: Older People, Learning Disability, Physical and Sensory Impairment and Mental Health.


Tip: Use our new Glossary alongside this email
We’ve recently added a Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations to the Forum Central website to help members understand some of the ‘jargon’ terms that are commonly used across the third sector in relation to health and care at a local, regional and nation level. It might be handy to refer to while reading this email.

In this email 

Forum Central
Covid-19 Response
   •   Partnerships, Collaboration and Strategy
   •   Shaping our Future
   •   Black Lives Matter
   •   State of the Sector Report
   •   Supporting Organisations with Information Governance

Communities of Interest & Third Sector Outbreak Plan
   •   Covid-19 Grants

Local Care Partnerships

Leeds Older People’s Forum
   •   International Day of Older People 2020
   •   Winter campaigns: ‘Stay well this winter’ & ‘Take Care Leeds’
   •   Time to Shine – Co-production Toolkit

Physical & Sensory Impairment
International Day of Disabled People 2020 #LeedsforAll
   •   DWP Disabled People’s Employment Inquiry

Learning Disability
•   Employment Task Group
•   Digital Inclusion

Mental Health
   •   The Leeds Mental Health Strategy 2020-2025
   •   Mental Health Collaborative
   •   Community Mental Health Transformation Bid
   •   Emerging Mental Health Report
   •   Adult Community Based Mental Health Reviews
   •   Health Checks
   •   MindWell

Men’s Health Unlocked

Staff Team & Member Engagement 

Upcoming Dates

Forum Central

As ever, we are keenly focused on ensuring the third sector’s collective voice – the voice of our members – is heard and has influence in the overall delivery and strategic planning for health and care in Leeds.

Our Health and Care Leaders Network is central to this work and we continue to meet approximately quarterly.

Covid-19 Response to Support Members
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic our priority has been supporting our members and the health and care third sector by forging partnerships, sharing information and good practice, and maximising opportunities to raise issues and concerns on behalf of members.The Neighbourhood Networks have been instrumental in providing practical help and support throughout the pandemic to reduce isolation for those most at risk from coronavirus. A collaboration with 100% Digital Leeds is ongoing to support digital inclusion for older people, people with learning disabilities, physical and sensory impairments and adults who are not digitally connected or skilled.

We continue to represent the health and care third sector on a range of different silver and bronze Covid-19 response meetings and have worked hard at ensuring the parity of the third sector for testing and vaccination. We have, through the Time to Shine programme and Communities of Interest Network, been able to capture learning throughout the Covid-19 response and continue to build on these insights through the development of a coordinated approach to recovery planning with Leeds City Council (LCC) and the voluntary sector.

Partnership, Collaboration and Strategy
The partnership of Forum Central is growing ever stronger. Leeds Older People’s Forum and Volition (the Mental Health, Physical and Sensory Impairment and Learning Disabilities Forum) continue to work closely together to shape Forum Central’s strategic direction and work plan for 2021-22; agreeing joint key priorities and opportunities for cross collaborative development work.

We are really pleased to be able to work closely with Voluntary Action Leeds, Healthwatch, Leeds Involving People, Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds City Council among others, including Adults and Health and NHS commissioners.

At West Yorkshire and Harrogate (WY&H) level, we have ongoing input to a range of boards including now the Shadow Executive Board. We also submitted a response to the NHS England consultation about the future of Integrated Care Partnerships (ICP) on behalf of the sector.

A WY&H bid which proposed Leeds as a test and learn site for green social prescribing that we contributed to was not selected but great ideas and connections have come out of it. One example is a connection with the newly formed Walking on Together network which promotes and champions walking in the city. There is a strong appetite to continue to work together to increase social prescribing to green activities and to support organisations working in this area, which we will continue to build on.

Shaping Our Future
Over December, the Shaping Our Future report went out to consultation with stakeholders, engaging with people from small, medium, and large VSCE organisations. The briefing has now reached a final version and a proposal has been submitted to Leeds CCG with high level time scales and costings for the delivery of a programme of transition to prepare the health and care third sector to be partners in collaboratively designing integrated contracts.

Black Lives Matter
We are linking closely with Voluntary Action Leeds to ensure the Black Lives Matter movement brings about positive changes to our sector and ways of working. We now have a short, medium, and long term action plan, which includes:
   •   Data collection and equality impact assessments
   •   Generous leadership
   •   Training opportunities

   •   Actions linked to the WY&H review into inequalities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and workforce

State of the Sector Report
A report has been produced by Nifty Sustainability CIC and Leeds Beckett as part of Harnessing the Power of Communities work, funded by WY&H and NHS CCG, to make sure the third sector is a sustainable, central part of the health and care system – recognising that the person-centred approach of the third sector is key. We are reviewing findings at the moment and looking at gaps
and where additional research is needed, particularly to ensure underrepresented groups and least heard voices are reflected.

Supporting Organisations with Information Governance
There has been a significant amount of work done with our wonderful third sector IT champion Dani Mistry to ensure that we get as many third sector organisations as possible GDPR compliant with NHS Digital. This is to make sure the third sector contribution is visible and in a good position to access opportunities to connect with NHS providers and Leeds Care Record. Several organisations we are working with in Leeds have now received funding for this and contract agreements are in place. Work and evidencing for this is ongoing and will hopefully result in data sharing agreements being in place soon.

For more information about our Health and Care work please contact Daisy Morgan, [email protected]uk.

Communities of Interest & Third Sector Outbreak Plan

The Communities of Interest (CoI) Network was set up early in the pandemic to address the need to get information and support to the most marginalised and vulnerable communities in Leeds with a focus on reducing inequalities highlighted by the outbreak of Covid-19.

Volition has led this work for Forum Central (working alongside Voluntary Action Leeds, Healthwatch, and Leeds Community Foundation) by holding an online meeting every 2 weeks and providing weekly email updates – all meeting notes and recordings are collated here on the CoI webpage.

This allows us to ‘cut through the noise’ by creating a direct dialogue with people – giving relevant information and updates, and listening to the challenges communities are experiencing, which we can help to address and feed into the Third Sector Outbreak Plan.

It is the first time that all the third sector partnership organisations in Leeds have worked together in this way. Good relationships have been built with a very broad set of people, including faith organisations and community groups.

Covid-19 Grants
So far over 65 grants have been given with an estimated reach of over 45,000 people. These small grants are an important part of the Third Sector Outbreak Plan, as they have enabled us to engage further with a broad range of groups. The 4 areas the grants have focussed on so far are:
   •   Young People (19-29)
   •   Culturally Diverse Communities / Black Asian Minority Ethnic groups
   •   Older People
   •   Faith organisationsThe activities the grants have focussed on so far have been:
   •   Prevention – through clear, evidence based communications delivered by trusted sources and available in differing formats to ensure accessibility and engagement.
   •   Response to outbreaks – increase and support for testing in communities, identifying appropriate test sites. Gathering community insight and intelligence based on issues and barriers experienced, then linking in decision makers to shape the response.
   •   Support – helping people keep connected through digital inclusion. Supporting the community based effort to help people isolate with support from their local Community Care Hub (food, medicine, social support, physical activity and mental wellbeing).We have also contributed information about the Third Sector Outbreak Plan to the Council Executive Board Report.For more information about our Communities of Interest work please contact Stacey Taylor, [email protected]org.uk.

Local Care Partnerships

We will be running a few introductory workshops to help people understand more about what the Local Care Partnerships (LCPs) are and what they can offer – all are welcome to attend.

A new LCP web page: http://inspiringchangeleeds.org/local-care-partnerships/ has been created, which communicates key information about the Local Care Partnership model, priorities in each of the LCPs and how to get involved.

Workshops on community mental health transformation funding have been delivered at HATCH and Leeds Student Medical Practice and The Light, with a view to help co-design transformational changes to community mental health services. A further workshop will be delivered in West Leeds LCP in the near future.

York Road Local Care Partnership have been successful in applying for grant funding from West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership (WY&H H&CP) to deliver pop up warm lunches for people who are socially isolated. LS14 Trust (Seacroft LCP), Health for All (Beeston & Middleton LCP) and Advonet (LSMP & The Light LCP) have received funds to deliver work which tackles health inequalities.

The LCP development team have been actively supporting colleagues across the system with the Covid-19 testing and vaccination programmes.

The Local Care Partnership Executive Group has agreed in principle a 2 year funding arrangement for the LCP development team, including a VCSE component. We are not yet sure how this funding will be made available.

For more information about our Local Care Partnerships work please contact Karl Witty, [email protected].

Leeds Older People’s Forum

Our fantastic Neighbourhood Networks have stepped up their neighbourly efforts since coronavirus with many now operating as Community Care Hubs – a Covid-19 response initiative established by Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds to provide emergency provision and support to people shielding or in need.

International Day of Older People
The International Day of Older People (IDOP) annual events were affected by Covid-19 restrictions, but we still managed to celebrate. This year the theme was Age Proud: time to feel good about ageing. Small grants were provided to a variety of groups to support them to highlight positive ageing in Leeds.Winter Campaigns
We helped plan and deliver two city-wide winter campaigns, Stay well this winter’ & ‘Take Care Leeds’ which both aimed to highlight and combat the significant challenges faced by older people during the winter months.

Time to Shine
This project of Leeds Older People’s Forum brings together a number delivery partners in Leeds to help reduce social isolation and loneliness to help fulfil the city’s pledge to ‘Make Leeds the Best City to Grow Old In’. Visit the Time to Shine website to keep up to date with their work.

Co-production Toolkit
As part of Time to Shine’s ‘test and learn’ approach they have produced a brand new Co-production Toolkit which gives an overview of what co-production is, how it works and highlights key things to consider in order to; prepare for, plan, and carry out, then review a co-production project.

For more information about Leeds Older People’s Forum please contact Rachel Cooper, [email protected]forumcentral.org.uk.

Physical & Sensory Impairment

International Day of Disabled People (IDODP) 2020 #LeedsForAll
For last year’s International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) or IDODP we worked with the William Merrit Centre to coordinate a huge celebratory and awareness raising programme of events and activities.

Over 40 activities took place over 4 days, with over 300 attendees and 1000 views online – an amazing achievement. The content was a combination of live online, prerecorded, and offline activity with BSL, captioning and other accessibility considerations in place across all activities. The activities were led by our member organisations and individuals with support from the Volition and William Merrit project management team. There was great press coverage and engagement on social media, generating interest right across our networks. A video and written report are now being produced. #LeedsForAll was made possible with some additional funding from LCC Equality Hub and the Ward Councillors.

DWP Disabled People’s Employment Inquiry
Working together with the Learning Disability specialism team we held workshops and developed a response for the DWP’s employment inquiry and submitted it before Christmas. We complied evidence on behalf of our membership, highlighting concerns and opportunities with an ask to be involved in future strategy development.

We continue to have representation on the Better Lives Board which oversees and provides leadership for the implementation of the Adults and Health’s Better Lives Programme.

Physical and Sensory Impairment Information and Strategy Sessions are held on a quarterly basis to share updates and gather insights from members to shape our, and the third sector’s priorities.

For more information about our Physical and Sensory Impairment work please contact Zaira Khanum, [email protected]uk.

Learning Disabilities

Our advocacy colleague Gabby is working to develop learning disability representation in strategic meetings across our region. By mapping structures and meetings where Forum Central is not currently represented we hope to gain better influence for our members and people with learning disabilities.

Employment Task Group
We held an employment task group meeting in December in which Leeds agreed an ambition statement and action plan, with a number of subgroups. Members have signed up to the subgroups to deliver on the activities in the action plan. Funding from Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds City Council has been discussed to support activities of the task group and subgroups.International Day of Disabled People (IDODP) 2020 #LeedsForAll
Many of this year’s activities and videos were tailored specifically for people with learning disabilities and the celebration was truly enjoyed by all. Read more detailed information about the IDODP event in the PSI section above.DWP Disabled People’s Employment Inquiry
Two sessions were held, one during the week of IDODP, to collect information from a range of disabled people and supporting organisations for the Government’s employment inquiry. The third sector report was drafted by us and sent before Christmas to help inform the national strategy.Digital Inclusion
The pandemic highlighted the acute need to address digital inclusion to keep more people connected. The development of a Digital Inclusion Coordinator for Learning Disability and Autism is underway with the CCG and 100% Digital Leeds. Pyramid is to host the post for 12 months, with potential for an extension. The post will oversee the ALaDDIN group as well as some key digital inclusion health outcomes from the CCG.

We are developing a research proposal with Leeds Beckett University and the ALaDDIN group to support research into digital inclusion for people with learning disabilities.

The micro grants scheme, coordinated by our Communities of Interest lead Stacey, is targeting autism and learning disability organisations to support more digital inclusion initiatives.

Learning Disability Member Meetups continue to happen regularly, currently every other month. Updates and discussions about the challenges of Covid-19 and the vaccination programme have been top of the agenda.

For more information about our Learning Disabilities work please contact Jez Coram, [email protected].

Mental Health

There is a lot of strategic work going on in Leeds at the moment in relation to Mental Health systems and our Mental Health specialism colleagues (part of the Volition team within Forum Central) is representing the third sector in these exciting developments.

The Leeds Mental Health Strategy 2020-2025
Leeds City Council have collaborated with many partners, including us, across Leeds to produce the Leeds Mental Health Strategy 2020 – 2025 which focuses on 8 priorities. Priority 1 is Prevention, and our Volition Director Pip Goff will be leading on this work as joint Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) with Catherine Ward from Public Health. Project initiation documentation and measures are currently being drawn up.
Mental Health Collaborative
A citywide mental health collaborative has been developed, and will initially focus on priority 6 of the mental health strategy – Crisis. We have third sector reps on the steering and working group of the collaborative and plans are developing for a workshop around access to crisis to take place in March/April.Community Mental Health Transformation Bid
Forum Central representatives have been heavily involved in a West Yorkshire & Harrogate (WY&H) Community Mental Health Transformation bid to NHS England, attending the nation level pre-bid submission workshops and now the two weekly local oversight group and regional level discussions.The model of the bid is highly reliant and places strong emphasis on Primary Care and Third Sector provision working closely together with our wider system colleagues and we are working on sector specific engagements and discussions. Engagement workshops are taking place in LCP areas identified (HATCH, West and Student Medical Practice, The Light).We also collated a paper giving an overview of third sector Navigator and Personalised Care roles to contribute to the discussion. Early stage discussions are taking place around the financial allocation for Year 1,2 and 3 and final allocation has not yet been confirmed.

Emerging Mental Health Report
Last summer we produced a report giving an account of Leeds’ emerging mental health needs, organisational challenges, and the sector’s capacity to support people across Leeds throughout the pandemic. The Emerging Mental Health Report compiles recommendations and insights from colleagues at Healthwatch, Leeds Involving People, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Public Health.

Adult Community Based Mental Health Reviews
There is a proposal for 6 areas of review and discussion on third sector contracts which are currently under review, prior to tender in April 2022. NHS Leeds CCG are coordinating a series of briefings and events for interested parties and focus groups for service users/carers. We are working closely with the CCG to promote this programme and with members to keep you up to date and involved.
The 6 areas are:
   •   Crisis and urgent care
   •   Supported accommodation
   •   Specialist community support services
   •   Services for refugees and asylum seekers
   •   Service user involvement
   •   Information and advice on mental health services in Leeds

Health Checks
We have worked with the CCG, Commissioner GP Clinical Lead, and Northpoint to submit a proposal to West Yorkshire and Harrogate for funding additional capacity to complete health checks for people with severe mental illness.

The MindWell team continues to keep the Coronavirus Mental Health Information Hub up to date with the latest information as lockdown restrictions evolve. This Hub brings together service information about mental health support in Leeds, Covid-19, and how to look after your mental health. It is increasingly used and signposted to by a wide range of partners (including the LYPFT, LTHT, and LCC). The new Browsealoud feature can translate the website into about 100 languages (using the big orange button). Planning and preparations are underway to migrate to a new MindWell website which integrates with LOOP to provide more reliable shared information.

Our Mental Health Information and Strategy Sessions which are usually quarterly are currently being held every other month due to Covid-19.

For more information about our Mental Health work please contact Sarah Wilson, [email protected]uk.

Men’s Health Unlocked

This new Forum Central project which launched on International Men’s Day in November last year brings together a city-wide network of individuals and organisations working in the field of men’s health with the aim of tackling health inequalities through a joined-up and gendered approach, specific to those who identify as men.

Men’s Health Unlocked (MHU) seeks to: connect and liaise; involve and develop; promote and celebrate the health and wellbeing needs and activities of men in Leeds, from all backgrounds and at all levels.

There are currently three delivery strands running some on-the-ground projects. These are:
   •   Unlock Online – Free digital tablets scheme, coordinated by Barca-Leeds
   •   Unlock Offline – Men’s clubs and a helpline, run by Touchstone
Over 100 men have already been directly supported through these sub-projects with the provision of internet-ready tablets, the men’s helpline, and men’s support groups.

   •   Unlocked Magazine – A magazine co-produced with men and sub-project lead Orion, as part of the Manbassador Project. Over 10,000 copies have been distributed via businesses, Neighbourhood Networks, food banks and other avenues.

Additionally, our MHU Coordinator Damian is working with key strategic partners to influence the local health and wellbeing agenda and has given presentations at Neighbourhood Network Skills Shares and LCP meetings.

The first Men’s Health Unlocked Networking Meeting took place in January with 54 in attendance, and these will continue every other month.

For more information about our Men’s Health work please contact Damian Dawtry, [email protected]org.uk.

Staff Team

Our new Organisational Chart has details of the current Forum Central team. We have appointed a number of new staff members recently who we are delighted to introduce you to:

   •   Gabby Voinea, Third Sector Advocates/Representatives Relationship Officer
   •   Damian Dawtry, Coordinator of the Men’s Health Unlocked project
   •   Stacey Taylor, Third Sector Outbreak Plan Coordinator
   •   Sarah Wilson, Mental Health Development Worker
   •   Kelly Bishop, Administration Officer
•   Zaira Khanum, Physical and Sensory Impairment Development Worker
•   Roxana Cretu, Third Sector Outbreak Plan Support
•   Veronica Evans, LOOP Community Builder (until April 2021)
•   Jenny Bull, Interim Communications SupportMember Engagement
A new membership database (HubSpot CRM) is being piloted with our Mental Health team and its members and if successful we will continue with plans to roll this out across other specialisms. We continue to investigate new ways to connect with, and reinstate our commitment and offer to, our members who may have become less engaged because of coronavirus or otherwise.

Upcoming Member Meetings & Information and Strategy Sessions

Currently all meetings are taking place remotely online (via Zoom or other internet meeting/video calling platforms)

   •   9   –  Physical and Sensory Impairment (PSI)
   •   9   –  Communities of Interest
   •   23 –  Communities of Interest
   •   25 –  LOPF Time to Shine Digital Inclusion Event

   •   Early March, date to be confirmed –  Men’s Health Unlocked
   •   9   –  Mental Health
   •   9   –  Local Care Partnerships Introductory Workshop
   •   10 –  Communities of Interest
   •   24 –  Communities of Interest
   •   25 –  Learning Disability

Please appreciate these dates may be subject to change. Please do get in touch with us at [email protected] or contact the specialism team members to find out details and times of these meetings, and to confirm your attendance.

In addition, Leeds Older People’s Forum continues to run its Neighbourhood Network Skills Shares, Digital Working Group, Time to Shine – Time to Learn sessions, and Anti-Racism check in sessions, among others. If you are interested in being involved with any of these groups then please contact [email protected]org.uk. You can also sign up to the Time to Shine newsletter to receive details of their events.


Thanks for your involvement

We’d like to remind you that membership is free and open to all third sector organisations working in health and social care in Leeds (it can be indirectly). Please email us to enquire about membership.

Our mission is to be the collective voice for the health and care third sector.

If you think you can help by contributing your voice please do get in touch with us at [email protected] or call 0113 242 1321.