Employment and voluntary opportunities in Basildon will receive a much-needed boost, thanks to a new initiative from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
The Anchor Programme is an ambitious new project from the Trust - one of the largest employers in the region - which aims to provide more opportunities for young people, reduce their environmental impact and create volunteering opportunities.
This is all being done in partnership with health and care partners, local Councils and the education sector across mid and south Essex.
The Trust’s size, reach and influence means it’s in a unique position to provide opportunities to the local communities it serves that go beyond being an excellent healthcare provider.
The Programme brings together partners from across the healthcare system to understand how the Trust can be a real force for good and provide high-quality local employment, support staff in their professional development, and reach out to local partners to help them succeed.
Basildon Hospital is the pilot site, with the programme set to expand to include all three hospital sites and communities across mid and south Essex later this year.
Charlotte Williams, Director of Strategy at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“The Anchor Programme aims to improve the life chances of local people. This will be achieved by local organisations working together to develop innovative approaches to support the communities we serve.
“COVID-19 has taught us all that there is great strength in partnership working. Many people have lost jobs during the pandemic. The Anchor Programme will provide an opportunity for retraining, volunteering and developing new networks of opportunity.”
70% of staff at the Basildon site live in the local area. The Trust will work with its employees to understand how they can recruit more people locally and ensure that employment opportunities are of a high quality with real career pathways.
Anchor Programme partners, Generation Medics, are providing opportunities for young people hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Generation Medics is a multi-award-winning social enterprise dedicated to helping people from all backgrounds explore, strive and succeed in medical and healthcare careers.
They are supporting the next generation of healthcare professionals in Basildon through their ‘Virtual Healthcare Academy’. The programme includes workshops, mentoring, online work experience and a dedicated online platform all designed to support 13-19 year olds.
Dr Hinnah Rafique, Founder of Generation Medics and a MSEFT Clinical Innovation Fellow, said:
“The Anchor Programme presents a really exciting opportunity to work with the hospital and the local community to inspire the next generation during this challenging time, when many young people are feeling isolated and anxious about their futures.
“The response we have had from local schools and sixth forms has been fantastic. Our Virtual Healthcare Academy is a place where young people in Basildon can gain knowledge of healthcare careers and develop understanding into how a hospital operates whilst working towards their future goals.”
Young people can sign-up to take part in the programme by visiting https://generationmedics.org.uk/healthcare-academy-essex/ or speaking to their school or college careers adviser.
Councillor Tony Ball, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Essex County Council said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on factors that support wider good health such as work and income and we must work with our partners to address these issues. Anchor institutions can influence employment opportunities, support work experience, apprenticeships and training opportunities and we will have a much greater ability to support residents and communities health outcomes by collaborating together to deliver projects, share knowledge and expertise in this area.”
Councillor Aidan McGurran, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Economic Development and Recovery Committee, added:
“It has been a challenging year for our NHS and communities. It’s important that we continue to work together to support our young people to reach their aspirations, help those who have lost their jobs to retrain or upskill and ensure that our NHS services continue to be a major employer of local people.”