18th October 2021

Key involvement by BHASVIC in Citizens Assembly

BHASVIC is a member of the Citizens Brighton and Hove Alliance

BHASVIC is a member of the Citizens Brighton and Hove Alliance, a group of 17 institutions across the city that represent education, faith, business and the NGO the sector. Citizen’s UK is a community organising group who aim to bring people together to create positive change around issues of social justice and equality. Two years ago the alliance chose to focus on Mental Health provision across the city and set up a Citizens commission that asked members what was working well, what were the barriers that people faced when reporting issues and what recommendations they would make to improve the system. After a listening campaign which involved over 5,500 people, the alliance agreed five key asks:

  • To create a Mental Health Charter for young people
  • To reduce community isolation
  • To increase access to support
  • To reduce waiting lists
  • To improve transition between children’s and adult services

The culmination of this commission was in a Citizens Assembly, which was held on Thursday 14th October at ONE Church in Florence Road, Brighton. Attended by alliance members both in person and remotely, University, college and school students along with staff presented their findings to the city’s MPs, council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty and Chief Medical Officer for NHS Sussex Partnership, Dr Rick Fraser. Their testimony included frustration at the speed of referrals and the complexity of navigating the system. This event saw young people holding those in power to account – a wonderful exposition of the democratic process. Brighton and Hove’s key decision makers all agreed to help make these asks a reality, with a particular commitment to introduce a virtual process to support families while waiting for CAMHS appointments as well as to review the transition between children’s and adult services.