The Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) has created a new first-of-its-kind specialist Traveller community wellbeing link worker role.
The new job has been developed and implemented to give the traveller community better access to health and community services.
Michelle Holder, who was recently installed in the role, has already been on several outreach missions to county sites, with the aim of building bridges between said community and the NHS.
The Trust has already seen the new role make a tangible difference to the community, with one man already accessing LPFT’s Steps2Change mental health services.
Holder said: “Traditionally, there are many Travellers, particularly in the older male group, who put off seeking help for a medical issue until it is too late.
“However, we are working hard to change that and already we have helped several families access services that they wouldn’t have done without our support.”
The new support role has been funded by the Lincolnshire NHS Charity and involves working in conjunction with the Lincoln Traveller Initiative (LTI).
Paul Boucher, LTI’s Director, said: “We have been helping to support the Traveller community for over 20 years and we know there is a real need for someone like Michelle.
“I am looking forward to getting to as many sites as possible with Michelle to help educate and support travellers living in Lincolnshire with their health matters.”
The charity has supported a wide range of initiatives, including one in Gainsborough which saw a Well Woman group created, subsequently bringing the community closer together and providing a platform for the traveller community to develop friendships and discuss personal issues with other members of the community.
Kirsty Mathers, who supports the group said: “Four men in the last three weeks have asked for help for suicidal thoughts within the Traveller community, which is massive and we have never had that before.”
More information about the new role is available here.