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Sandwell Council shortlisted for prestigious national award for work of Sandwell Language Network

Published 21st February 2023

SLN Award

Sandwell Council has been shortlisted in the Public Health category at the LGC awards for its work with the Sandwell Language Network (SLN).

The network is led by a partnership of local organisations that include Sandwell Council, Sandwell Consortium, Sandwell College, Sandwell Public Health and Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

SLN aims, by increasing the availability of English language support, to reduce health inequalities for migrant and ethnic minority communities, improve health literacy and access to healthcare services and to reduce social isolation and promote better mental health.

SLN has had 524 learners on the programme, representing 19 ethnicities, 53 nationalities and 39 different main languages. In addition, 75 local volunteers were recruited and trained.

In a survey of people who used the SLN, approximately 9 out of 10 said that it had helped them make NHS appointments and better explain their health concerns to their healthcare professional.  In addition, over 90% also said that the language network had helped them get to know people in their local area, which in turn reduced social isolation and improves health and wellbeing.”

Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care, Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, said:

“In Sandwell we do our Public Health work in partnership with our community.  Local people’s experiences, expertise and enthusiasm are what makes our work so effective.

“The Sandwell Language Network is a great example of this. I would like to congratulate everyone working and volunteering with the Network for this well-deserved recognition.”

Davinder Kaur, Chair of the Sandwell Consortium, added:

“For those of us whose first language is English it is hard to imagine how difficult it would be to access appropriate healthcare for ourselves and our children if we were are unable to communicate in a common language with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. 

“This important work creates opportunities and encourages people to talk with neighbours, join local activities and navigate health care provision. It gives some of the most vulnerable residents greater confidence, and better access to healthcare and education. In turn, this allows people to have better health outcomes, better qualifications and employability.”

Interviews with learners may be possible on request.

To find out more information on Sandwell Language Network and how to register for community English language learning please go to Sandwell Consortium