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Luton Borough Council

COVID-19 Talk Listen Change community engagement


A community project to tackle inequalities of COVID-19 in Luton

Nationally, there's clear evidence that COVID-19 has not affected all population groups equally. In Luton, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, black African and black Caribbean population groups (BAME) have seen the greatest impact.

In January 2021, together with the Institute of Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire, we launched a unique community engagement project - COVID-19 Talk Listen Change (TLC).

Luton TLC project logo  

The project aims to explore why BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

The COVID-19 TLC project, led by Dr Nasreen Ali, leader in public health equality from the Institute of Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire, engaged with these communities to seek their views and experiences of the virus to determine a better understanding of how they have been affected by the pandemic.

A key goal of the initiative is to work with residents to develop solutions to some of the identified barriers and issues in order to tackle health inequalities

The project to date

So far, the project has included:

  • an online community survey to allow residents to share their views
  • online focus group discussions with BAME community members living in wards most affected by COVID-19 (Northwell, Leagrave, Biscot, Dallow, Saints and South)
  • one to one interviews with frontline health and social care workers
  • community debates via online events

This initiative is part of the work plan of the Health Inequalities Delivery Board, a sub-group of the Health and Wellbeing Board. The findings of this project will be key to informing the ongoing work for these boards to tackle inequalities in Luton.

Since the launch in January, all of the comments from the various listening events that have taken place have been collated by the university. The report will be made public in the coming weeks, following the feedback sessions to those who participated, on 20 September 2021.

In summary, the main findings were:

  • views on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19
  • views about risk factors, symptoms and transmission of COVID-19
  • barriers to getting tested for COVID-19 and the reasons for vaccine hesitancy
  • views on how the wider inequalities have impacted on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19
  • views on how to communicate with communities and co-develop solutions to tackle inequalities

We're now trying to build on the findings and respond to some of the issues raised. However we want to hear from the community to find out what joint solutions we can come to in order to move forward.

This is the first of the conversations we'll be having with our communities about health and wellbeing and tackling health inequalities. We've organised two, two hour online events; one in the morning and one in the early evening of 20 September 2021.

These sessions will be the first of a series of conversations with our communities. These will enable us, as a council, to work together with the community to find solutions to issues raised in this research and other issues going forward.

To sign up to either of the two Zoom online events please use the following links.

Monday 20 September 2021

  • Morning session, 9.30 to 11.30am
    Morning Zoom link
    Meeting ID: 859 4246 6929
    Passcode: 442899
  • Evening session, 6 to 8pm
    Evening Zoom link
    Meeting ID: 845 9756 0114
    Passcode: 729783

The panel

  • Welcome by Robin Porter, Chief Executive, Luton Council
  • Introduction by Councillor Khtija Malik, Portfolio Holder, Health and Wellbeing, Luton Council
  • Chair by Marek Lubelski, Social Justice Manager, Luton Council
  • Dr Nasrteen Ali, Reader in public health equality,  Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshir
  • Riffat Mahmood, TLC Community Researcher, Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire
  • Dr Erica Cook, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology, Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire
  • Sally Cartwright, Interim Director of Public Health, Luton Council

More information

Send your questions or enquiries on the TLC project to [email protected]. Sending your questions in advance will allow the panel time to prepare comprehensive answers to your questions.

Luton TLC project flyer

© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ