Project promotes well-being of Portuguese community in London

in News · 16-02-2020 16:00:00 · 0 Comments

A pioneering project in the Portuguese-speaking community in London will use games and recreational activities within the household to improve well-being and support in areas such as health, employment, social life or fitness.

The Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership (LPWP) project, entitled "Household Model", will assign a "trainer" to each household, which will meet in two-hour sessions with families for six weeks, until April.

The objective is, through conversations, games and other activities, but also health tests and questionnaires, to identify the needs of different members and to seek solutions, both for external and internal public services, found within the household itself.

"This is a way of interpreting the needs of people individually, but it is different because it works as a team and allows to identify the different needs within the household," said doctor Vikesh Sharma, one of the founding partners of LPWP, to the Lusa agency.

The "trainers" are people with training in nursing, social assistance or community support of Portuguese, Mozambican or Brazilian origin, and the model has been tested since April with Portuguese and Brazilian families, with some results.

In one case, a former drug addict recovered his self-esteem, fitness and ambition to study photography after being encouraged to sow and care for plants.

In a family, a "meal of pain" allowed members to talk openly about the health problem of one of them, but also about the impact, in terms of mental health, that it was having on others.

This activity allowed "unlocking" the solution to the health problem, but also for the family member who cares for the patient, who found painting a hobby that helps to relieve daily pressure.

"The idea of ??the 'meal of pain' came from the fact that food plays such an important role in Portuguese culture, and helped household members to speak," explained Hannah McDowall, co-director of the social company Worldwide International Global Solutions (WIGS), which helped to mature the concept.

"We already know the problems and challenges they face, but we need to identify the capacities of household members to understand the dynamics and make it evolve," she added.

Households are recommended by some of the LPWP partners, an alliance of more than 100 individuals and local organizations, working in areas such as health, housing, employment, domestic violence, education or sport.

The project is being carried out in Lambeth, a municipality in south London where a large Portuguese-speaking community is concentrated, estimated at more than 30 thousand people.

However, organizations from other parts of London or the United Kingdom and the British health care system (NHS) have expressed an interest in reproducing and applying the model on a larger scale outside the Portuguese community.

The LPWP was created following an initiative in 2015 by British doctor Vikesh Sharma to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers and improve the service provided by local health services to the Portuguese, in collaboration with the Portuguese Cristiano Figueiredo.

Since then, it has been developing a "social prescription" model, which aims to connect primary health care users with other support resources in the community to respond to social problems and needs, improving not only health, but also well-being.

In 2018, it received funding from the Guy's and St. Thomas Charity Foundation, associated with the public hospitals of Guy's and St. Thomas, of 335 thousand pounds (395 thousand Euros) to develop the activity.


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