Greater Manchester’s very first Caribbean and African Health Network has gone from strength to strength since its official launch event in October, highlighting the importance of boosting the support and help available for this community.

The Caribbean and African Health Network (CAHN) was set up with the aim of changing how the Caribbean and African community accesses information and resources to improve their health and wellbeing. The founders identified many unmet needs and inequalities, including healthcare provision.

The Network’s wide programme of activities currently includes an audit of health and wellbeing services offered by faith groups and places of worship across Greater Manchester. Initial analysis of the information obtained has provided a rich resource for local communities with services mapped across the region.  CAHN will continue to gather this information to ensure that it is as up to date and relevant as possible.

It covers the following areas:

Health and Wellbeing
Children, Family and Young People
Older People’s Support
Educational, Legal, Financial and Food Support
Leisure

The group is also running a health literacy programme to help the Caribbean and African community navigate the complex health and social care system in Greater Manchester.  CAHN will mark International Women’s Day on 8th March by holding a free event to celebrate black women, focusing on improving their mental health and wellbeing.

This range of activities is being supported by strong, local partnerships across voluntary sector, health, and local government organisations in Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body overseeing the devolution of health and social care in the region, has committed to support CAHN in building its capability and capacity over the coming years.

Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Director of Strategic Partnerships for CAHN, said: “We had an amazing response to the launch of our network last year – it’s great to have so much support for such an important project. Since then, we have got straight to work on building relationships with a range of partners and formulating effective ways to ensure that Greater Manchester’s Caribbean and African residents have access to the information and support they need to be healthy and well.”

Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We welcome the formation of CAHN and hope it will help us to gain a better understanding of the needs of this community. Reducing inequalities is a core priority for us over the coming years.”

“This is a great example of the difference that devolution can make. With more decisions being made at a local level, we have an opportunity to involve a broader range of groups, organisations, and partners in the shaping of local services.”

Greater Manchester residents and organisations are encouraged to get involved in group activities and give their support to this new network. CAHN can be reached at info@cahn.org.uk or by ‘liking’ the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/CAHNGM.

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