African Caribbean Culture Society of Barnet praises Healthy Heart Project 

A certificate of appreciation was awarded for high blood pressure help provided to Barnet residents from African, Caribbean, or South Asian backgrounds

Two people hold a framed certificate
The certificate of appreciation

A Barnet Council-backed project to improve heart health in high-risk communities has received formal recognition for helping over 1,600 residents in a little under two years.

The African Caribbean Culture Society of Barnet presented Barnet’s Healthy Heart Project with a certificate of appreciation for its service to the community. Since May 2022, 1,683 residents from African, Caribbean, or South Asian backgrounds have been helped to better manage their cardiovascular health.

The project takes a unique approach to heart health by addressing the issue of high blood pressure in African, Caribbean and South Asian communities through peer-to-peer support from trusted and reliable staff who understand, and are part of, these communities. The Heathy Heart programme is part of Healthwatch Barnet. Both are delivered by Inclusion Barnet, a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation. Most Inclusion Barnet staff have lived experience of disability and use their experience, combined with their commitment to amplifying residents’ voices, to enrich and strengthen their work.

The Healthy Heart programme offers:

  • Community Outreach – raising awareness about cardiovascular disease and risk factors within the communities of focus.
  • Peer Support – facilitating safe spaces for residents to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other.
  • Culturally Competent Resources – providing culturally relevant materials and information on heart health management and onward signposting to local services.

Judi Dumont-Barter, Healthy Heart Peer Co-ordinator at Healthwatch Barnet, the organisation delivering the project into its second year, said:  “It’s a privilege to work with our peers in Barnet’s African, Caribbean and South Asian communities to tackle cardiovascular disease by having effective conversations, carrying out blood pressure checks, and supporting people to make crucial changes like reducing their salt intake.

“Global majority people are more likely to face health inequalities, and we’re passionate about empowering our communities to access improved health. We’re also continually learning from the residents who take part in our project, about how we can work together to challenge inequity. The project is going from strength to strength and we’re excited to continue this vital work.”

Dr Janet Djomba, Interim Director of Public Health, Barnet Council, said: “By encouraging and facilitating conversations with residents at high risk of poor heart health, the Healthy Heart Peer Support Project demonstrates the impact we have when we work alongside our communities to understand and tackle health inequalities in Barnet.

“This recognition from the African Caribbean Culture Society highlights the importance of taking a culturally sensitive approach to health and community engagement, and celebrates the life-changing results the programme has had on hundreds of residents. By helping people understand the consequences of high blood pressure and supporting them to make simple healthy changes, the programme is playing a vital role in ensuring residents live longer, healthier lives.”

A family member of a Healthy Heart Programme participant, said: “Healthy Heart has saved lives. After my uncle got his blood pressure taken he was told to see his doctor as it was 190/100. He saw his doctor and ended up in hospital. It turned out he had a very serious heart problem and got treatment. Without Healthy Heart he may not have found out until it was too late.”

Launched in May 2022 by Inclusion Barnet in partnership with Barnet Council Public Health, in its first year the project engaged with 525 residents. Following this success, the project has now been extended into its second year.  Since autumn 2023, management and oversight has sat within Healthwatch Barnet, which is hosted by Inclusion Barnet.

Since its launch, the Healthy Heart Peer Support programme has delivered peer-to-peer intervention sessions with 1,683 residents, targeted five wards (Colindale, West Hendon, Golders Green, Edgware, Burnt Oak), engaged with 39 community groups and forums and distributed over 1,400 Healthy Heart resource packs to Barnet organisations.

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