East Riding of Yorkshire Council's public health team first launched the Inclusion Health vehicle back in November 2021, as part of the wider East Riding Inclusion Health service.
This project brings together council services including public health, leisure and libraries, as well as external partners such as the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, the Food Poverty Alliance and the foodbank network, working with community groups and organisations, all with the aim to become a trusted and supportive presence within the local authority.
The Inclusion Health vehicle project came about as a direct response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities, to make healthcare inclusive and accessible for every resident of the East Riding regardless of their situation.
Public health senior officer (health protection and outbreak control), Hannah Broadwell, said: "The vehicle has allowed us to extend operations further across the East Riding providing access to those who may otherwise have struggled to get this support. Its mobility has also enabled us to link in with established local community groups in even the most rural areas of the East Riding with the aim of building better rapport and conversation with the residents who need it the most."
The van is out on the road every week visiting community venues, food banks and rural areas to offer support on a range of health topics such as registering with a GP or finding a dentist; drug and alcohol use; harm reduction services and general advice on good physical and emotional well-being from the two practitioners onboard, as well as from the driver assistant, from two confidential clinical bays. The team are also able to signpost and recommend outreach services for residents across the local authority from community partners, such as the health trainer service and weight management services.
Residents can access the latest COVID-19 advice, including how and when to isolate or access medical care and where they can get vaccinated. The vehicle has also been providing free rapid asymptomatic Lateral Flow Test (LFT) kits, which has proven to be a popular resource over the last couple of months, supporting the wider community distribution and pop-ups over East Riding.
The Council's public health commissioning lead (addictions and substance use), Melanie McKee, said of the project, "Inclusion Health is an umbrella term for services which aim to support people who face barriers to accessing healthcare. People may be homeless, or from the travelling communities, and they may worry about experiencing stigma, so this could be migrants and asylum seekers, people who use drugs or people who have recently left prison. The Inclusion Health vehicle enables them to get basic health checks and screening for drug and alcohol use, and our team can also help people register with an NHS GP or dentist."
Forthcoming dates for the Inclusion Health vehicle:
Thursday, 10 February: Driffield Market, Driffield (YO25 6AR) 10am to 3pm
Friday, 11 February: Hope Hub at Christ Church, Bridlington (YO15 2AP) 11am to 12noon
Monday, 14 February: Cherry Tree Community Centre, Beverley (HU17 0AY) 10am to 2pm
Tuesday, 15 February: Kingfisher CafÃ©, Bridlington (YO15 3DX) 10am to 1pm
Wednesday, 16 February: Wesley Square Car Park, Goole (DN14 5EZ) 11.30am to 2.30pm
Thursday, 17 February: Shores, Withernsea (HU19 2DL) 10am to 2pm
Friday, 18 February: Flemingate Shopping Centre, Beverley (HU17 0NQ) 10am to 2pm
Subject to change - dates and times are shared weekly on the Council's social media accounts and on local online community boards.