28th April 2022 – VAI Health & Wellbeing Network Meeting Outcome


A round-up of this month’s meeting for anyone who couldn’t make it. Please see a brief summary of each agenda item and for those of you that couldn’t make it, you can watch a recording of the meeting here:

1. Vaccine Rollout & Covid Update (Navinder Kaur – VAI)
Navinder described that of around 250,000 eligible Islington residents, 168,000 have been vaccinated (ages 12 – 80+). VAI has been working with the Islington Faith Forum, Refugee & Migrant forum and HealthWatch to work with young people and have conversations around the vaccine and attempt to dispel misinformation and ensure communities have access to safe spaces to discuss their concerns. Note: Brickworks is hosting a vaccination day on 4th May.
Navinder mentioned the arrival of translated leaflets for communities that represent the 7 most widely spoken languages in the borough and asked for assistance in their distribution; with particular targeting of lower uptake wards, including Finsbury Park, Holloway & Bunhill. There is also accredited training available called ‘Good Conversations’ which upskills participants in conversing with communities around sensitive topics like this.

Michael Ryan (CEO of St. Luke’s Community Centre) discussed the work his centre has been doing around community conversations in Bunhill. He recently appointed a Community Organiser and 4 volunteers to support pop-up events coming up in the community and will be promoting vaccine take-up. They have been trained to engage in conversations around the vaccinations and simply talk to people about their concerns on a 1-to-1 basis. This proved to be highly successful at a recent event on 30th March whereby the team ran out of vaccines due to how many people agreed to it.


2. Adult Safeguarding (Yvette Ellis – VAI)
Unfortunately Yvette was absent due to illness and so was unable to provide her update on adult safeguarding, however Charlton & Navinder provided a brief update. The new chair of the Islington Safeguarding Board is looking to promote new toolkits and learnings for VCS organisations in the near future and is working with Navinder on peer to peer learning. Navinder raised the need for smaller bespoke trainings for organisations to ensure their accessibility and relevance when it comes to different types of groups and their clientele. For now, we do have instructions to join the free adult safeguarding training course forwarded to us by Yvette from Rachel Adelson-Kettle at Islington Council. You can see this below and the described info is attached:

“I am attaching info about the training platform which also includes what managers need to do first (set up service, let know they will be approving managers for their staff etc.)

One recommendation is that managers/senior staff put their training level at 5 on their profile otherwise they won’t be able to see courses like the Adult Safeguarding for Designated Leads one I mentioned.  I am also sending the hyperlink to create an account. Hyperlink: create a new account

If anyone has an issue with registering, please ask them to e-mail – it is their platform and they deal with all problems. I will be sending the next training for April – June course next week or the week after.  I will add your name to the distribution list so you receive it”.


3. Impact of Covid-19 on mental health (Emma Stubbs – Public Health)
Emma talked us through a presentation she gave at the Challenging Inequalities meeting a few weeks back and guided us through the latest statistics around how Covid-19 has impacted people’s mental health during this “4th wave” effect. In it she described a Centre for Mental Health tool kit which has modelled forecasts on the predicted increase in mental health conditions post-pandemic. You can find this here: Covid-19 Forecast Modelling Toolkit | Centre for Mental Health. Emma also described a Service Equity Improvement Toolkit which is provided by Public Health to colleagues when working to understand who is not accessing services; this is attached. Emma has also provided links to the 2020 and 2021 Covid-19 resident survey report which can be accessed here: PowerPoint Presentation (, Covid-19 Resident Survey 2021 (


4. Green Social Prescribing (John Thorne & Zlatina Nikolova – Parks For Health & Age UK Islington)
John and Zlatina gave excellent presentations on Islington’s plentiful green spaces and how green social prescribing will be incorporated into the wellbeing of our residents and the practice of social prescribing organisations. Both talks described the role of Age UK Islington Social Prescribers in the Camden & Islington Green Social Prescribing project and why they and their clients like Green Social Prescribing! Examples of Islington parks activities include park walks, volunteering, creative and intergenerational activities. Also included is an overview of the wide range of Social Prescribing Support that AUKI provides; how Social Prescribing Link Workers provide more than just signposting – they help Islington residents to engage with services and activities provided by statutory and Community & Voluntary Sector organisations and how to refer someone. Attached is John’s presentation and you can see Zlatina’s here:—green-social-prescribing-zn.pdf


5. Mental health partnership and the Central Locality Leadership Team (Philippa Russell – HealthWatch)
Philippa joined us to discuss her new role and how it impacts the borough: Mental Health Partnership Co-ordinator – new role working in partnership with Islington Mental Health Core Team and Healthwatch Islington, to strengthen links between statutory mental health services and the voluntary sector services to ensure more person-centred care for individuals needing support around severe mental health illness. Co-designed by a range of partners including clinicians, experts by experience, local authority reps. Focuses on best clinical practice and best local practice:

  • The core service (part of the national Long Term Plan) – focus on prevention and proactive care which was important for local people in their hopes for service redesign
    • Linking community and voluntary services to offer holistic support
    • Referral through primary care and GP. Will eventually include self-referral
    • Currently Central Islington (about a third of Islington) has moved to the core team approach.
    The rest of Islington is following this model. Attached is the pdf explaining all in more detail.


Voluntary Action Islington’s Newsgroup
Finally, in the interest of partnership and information sharing, I’d like to invite you to be part of our newsgroup communications (if you are not already) which broadcasts a wide range of updates, asks and opportunities from our 600+ members. You can sign up here.

We hope to see you with us for next month’s meeting which will take place on Thursday 26th May – 10:30. You can register here.