Working alongside our communities is an important part of our partnership - seeing the people we serve as assets. Working alongside local communities, ward councillors, council colleagues, voluntary community organisations and many others is essential if we are to fully understand the real value of early help and self-care. There is a wealth of expertise across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and communities are better placed than us to know what they need and to make positive change happen. If we are to genuinely work alongside communities as equal partners, then we need to change our relationships and build trust. We have good leadership from the voluntary sector, and we are attracting support from Healthwatch, NHS England, Nurture Development and National Voices to help us to think about our next steps.

To make sure our work adds the greatest value possible and supports existing projects and groups across the area we started with a number of design workshops in the summer. The aim of these were to agree a shared set of principles and a common understanding of what we mean by ‘communities doing more for themselves’, ‘co-production’, ‘asset based community development’, ‘co-design’ etc., and what the shared ambition for working with communities should be. This includes: co-produce and co-design an approach with communities

Work with programmes to ensure good voluntary and community sector representation on all of our work streams

Inspire NHS senior leadership to be ambassadors for the work

Consider how the services we commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area in commissioning and contracting across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Raise the profile of and share the excellent work taking place across the area - celebrate the difference this is making in our communities on a regional and national level.

It’s important to note that we are the beginning of this work, and are building on the good work to date – further sessions will take place over the coming months with communities.