Supporting people to access the health care they need to recover and stay well  

Thanks to funding from NHS Charities Together via Dorset County Hospital Charity in association with Dorset Community Foundation. We’re excited to be working with Public Health Dorset to innovatively partner with five local voluntary and community groups on a short but very important piece of work gathering insights from communities across Dorset to us to understand the barriers to people attending NHS appointments and what can be done to address these.

Folks missing NHS appointment(s) can have serious implications for their health and can even lead to premature death, so the NHS want to make sure people attend their appointments so they can recover and stay well. Missed appointments also cost the NHS millions of pounds every year and increases waiting times when our NHS is already very stretched.

We think that local VCS groups best understand their community and people they serve and can also provide support enabling people to recover and stay well.

Our health colleagues tell us mostly it’s folks from the list below that don’t attend appointments, so together they want us to focus and gather insights from the following people:

  • Black people
  • Families with young children
  • People with poor mental health
  • Older people
  • People affected by poverty

We are partnering with the following organisations to carry out a range of innovative, collaborative engagement activities with specific communities across Dorset to help understand the barriers and what can be done to address these:

Christchurch Community Partnership will be working with the BU PIER (Public Involvement in Education & Research) Partnership in using their community researcher model to upskill volunteers to enable them to facilitate and lead engagement activities with older people who they already work with many who have poor mental ill health and/or mobility issues.

CoCreate Dorset CIC will be working with individuals in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Weymouth with poor mental ill health through Forum Theatre, a structured performance method that encourages active problem-solving.

Home Start Wessex – volunteers will be leading and facilitating engagement activities with families with young children including those affected families affected by poverty.

Nigerian Communities in Dorset will be engaging with black people some of those will be families with young children and poor mental ill health through focus groups and one-to-one engagement activities working with BU student volunteers.

Poole Communities Trust will use creativity to stimulate conversation and engagement from the communities of Bourne, Branksome and Turlin Moor – working with a local illustrator to create a comic strip highlighting the barriers and challenges.


Keep your eyes peeled for updates on our eNewsletter – Start the Week. If you would like more information contact Emma Lee (, our Partnerships Manager.

Our work is possible thanks to our partner Public Health Dorset and funding from NHS Charities Together via Dorset County Hospital Charity in association with Dorset Community Foundation