Connecting Health Communities in North Yorkshire

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Helping our most isolated and vulnerable community members to access the health care and support they need.

Connecting Health Communities provides external facilitation to cross-sector partnerships seeking to address health inequalities, enabling them to co-design and co-deliver positive action.

Together with IVAR (the Institute for Voluntary Action Research) – who run the programme  – and our partners: Hambleton Community Action, Nidderdale Plus Community Hub, primary care networks, Healthwatch North Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Council, Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the project explored what health inequalities look like locally and how we can tackle them by improving access to health and care appointments. The work focussed on strengthening the foundations of our partnership working and supporting our local leaders to deliver improved health outcomes to vulnerable groups by:

  • Building the evidence base and case for change
  • Adapting systems and structures
  • Initiating and introducing new services
  • Identifying and achieving opportunities for a more sustainable and fairer model of healthcare

The project also made full use of local and national learning to progress the partnership.

Connecting Health Communities had four high-level aspirations that it explored with partners, like us:

  1. People with experience of health inequality are meaningfully involved in the codesign and co-production of health and care in and for their communities.
  2. People and communities with experience of health inequality are trusted partners in decision-making about their health and wellbeing.
  3. Activities that help people stay well and healthy happen in spaces and ways that communities feel ownership of.
  4. Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations are recognised, valued and resourced to connect people in communities with each other for their health and wellbeing.

To find out more about the project, read our Expression of Interest.


A series of workshops were held with the partners sharing vital information about health inequalities. The final workshop (held in April 2023) brought together VCSE and wider partners from across the three areas. Shared learnings from the project were discussed, as well as next steps identified, plus a comprehensive overview of challenges and opportunities of taking forward the models explored to address:
Topic 1: Coordinating journeys and appointments
Topic 2: Working with hospitals differently
Topic 3: Co-location and digital access
Topic 4: Communication

Take a look at the workshop presentation for more details.

Connecting health communities is run and delivered by IVAR. It is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and supported by an advisory group with representation from NHS England and Improvement, individuals with experience of cross-sector partnership working and/or support people experiencing health inequalities.

If you would like to join the IVAR mailing list to receive updates about Connecting Health Communities, click here.

Read the final report
Not just ticking boxes: report on empowering communities to tackle health inequalities

A new report on health inequalities illustrates the power of putting communities at the heart of cross-sector partnerships in local health and care systems – ensuring those who may struggle to access services are empowered to shape them. In the report, IVAR share learning from four areas, including a cross-sector partnership in North Yorkshire. Read the full report.