Local people help achieve improvements to health services

Local people are helping improve and develop new ways of delivering services for children, young people and families across Essex.

More than 50 people are actively involved in the Citizens’ Panel and engage with the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, run by Virgin Care in partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s, to help shape and transform health services.

The Essex Citizens’ Panel, enables local people to be informed, asked and involved in delivering Virgin Care’s transformation plans, and has already resulted in the delivery of a number of achievements.  For example, a new website for the service was recently launched with input from Citizens’ Panel members who ensured it had the right design and information included to help families. More than 150 people have been visiting the site every day.

Members have also put forward their ideas for investments from Virgin Care’s Feel the difference fund application grants, which are available on a monthly basis. This has resulted in a number of new creative and impactful opportunities for families including a new cookery class being run for families in Braintree to learn how to cook healthily on a budget.

Members of our Citizens’ Panels have also hosted engagement events with local families that have helped the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service receive valuable feedback.

Sign-ups remain open to local people who want to know more and get involved in the plans.

All next week between – 11th to 15th June – Virgin Care is celebrating the Citizens’ Panels work and achievements across the organisation. Across Essex, people can visit St Peter’s Hospital Café, Maldon (11th June), Chelmsford Family Hub at Chelmsford Library (11th June 1:00pm to 3:30pm) and Tesco Extra in Heybridge (13th June 9:30am-12:00pm) to find out more about the work the panel has been involved in and also have the opportunity to sign up.

People can also sign up to the Citizens’ Panel online by simply visiting: essexcitizenspanel.co.uk.

Richard Comerford, Managing Director for the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, said: “We’re very proud of what our Citizens’ Panels and its members have been able to help us achieve across Essex, working with us to develop new ways of providing services which work for local people and deliver improved outcomes.

“Current members are making some really positive contributions to our services, and they’ll continue to have an important role this year. We welcome more people to join the Citizens’ Panel to help us make a difference to people’s lives.”