Published Monday, 04 October 2021
COVID-19 has shone a light on inequalities within our communities and has fundamentally altered our lives.
There have been changes to what we value, our communities and how they function, our ways of working and to our economy. These findings will be a vital part of key future decisions and a commitment to working more closely with communities in an honest and transparent way, a Public Health report published confirms.
Each year, the Director of Public Health produces an independent assessment of the city’s health and wellbeing and to give recommendations for the future. This year’s annual report is titled ‘Connecting through COVID-19 – Making a difference by working together in unprecedented times ’ and focuses on the value of relationships and connecting with people and communities. It also offers a reflection on the city’s approach to engagement and working with communities through the pandemic and how this has shaped our COVID-19 response, recovery and ongoing defence.
It brings together statistical figures, performance reports and evaluations from the Council and partners, and interviews with over 20 colleagues across teams and organisations, to give a record of Coventry’s state of wellbeing in 2021/22, and to offer a reflection on the city’s approach to improving wellbeing last year and in our continued COVID-19 response.
This year’s recommendations demonstrate how they contributed to improving residents’ wellbeing, and how they accelerated the city’s response to COVID-19 based on last year’s projects and partnerships. They outline how we, as organisations and as a system, can minimise the impact and harm of COVID-19, while amplifying the benefits gleaned from the city’s response to the pandemic.
The five recommendations are as follows:
- Harness the work of the Community Messengers approach established during our COVID-19 response, as an ongoing method of working with communities and a central component of engagement for public health and wider programmes.
- Build on the engagement structures created and strengthened during the pandemic such as the Places of Worship and Community Centre Network, and grass-roots community organisations who were funded to support COVID-19 response efforts. Further understand the reach of these community organisations and networks to enable the targeting of work in areas with limited availability of community resource.
- Strengthen the existing relationships with GPs, other health professionals and those working with populations at higher risk of a range of poorer health outcomes due to inequality, deprivation, ethnicity and underlying health conditions – building upon the work started through the Vaccinating Coventry Programme.
- Embed our partnership approach to maintaining local COVID-19 defence, led by Coventry City Council’s Public Health working collaboratively with UK Health Security Agency and in partnership with the wider Council and ‘One Coventry’ partners.
- Establish strong COVID-19 recovery workstreams with ‘One Coventry’ partners and communities to embed a robust and coherent recovery for the City, with the aim of building a better future for all.
Councillor Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council said:
“During these unprecedented times, it has been vital that we have listened and engaged with our communities to build trust and support. This report aims to set out our approach and learning from the COVID-19 response over the last year and demonstrate the benefit of building strong relationships
“We are continuing to work across the city to bring services together and coordinate action through a joined-up One Coventry approach so that people across the city can live long happy and healthier lives. This has already proved to be crucial in our reset and recovery journey – by connecting with communities to make a lasting difference across our society”.
Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at Coventry City Council said:
“The pandemic has massively altered our attitude to wellbeing and what we value. This is our chance to imagine a Coventry where decisions and actions are driven through connecting and listening to those in our communities in an honest and transparent way.
“Our Covid-19 journey across the city has been a truly ‘One Coventry’ response in areas including combating inequalities, vaccinating Coventry, prioritising employment, and supporting victims of crimes such as domestic violence, as well as continuing to focus on building mental wellbeing in our communities.
“We hope that we can continue to minimise the impact and harm of COVID-19, while re-shaping Coventry’s health and wellbeing with our residents and partners.”