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Belfast Healthy Cities

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Building Community Pharmacy Partnership (BCPP)

Community Development and Health Network (CDHN)
Date of Project: 
Geography of Project: 
Ballybeen, Belfast
mental health, partnership, pharmacy, community, women, drugs and alchohol
Aim, Background, What Happened: 

The Building Community Pharmacy Partnership (BCPP) works to establish stronger partnerships between local communities and community pharmacists and address local health needs using a community development approach.

Context of Community or Target Group: 

Ballybeen Women’s Centre has been delivering community services for over twenty five years.  With this project they worked with a local pharmacist to promote health and health awareness among women young and old while trying to identify their educational and training needs in relation to health and social issues.  The project ran over six months and covered issues including mental health, minor ailments, smoking cessation and diet and physical activity. Links were made with Action Cancer and Aware Defeat Depression.

Ballybeen is the second largest housing estate in Northern Ireland with a population exceeding 8500.  It covers three electoral wards – Enler, Carrowreagh and Grahamsbridge.  The noble figures for Enler reflect the significant nature of problems experienced in Ballybeen.  It ranks 123 out of 566 in Northern Ireland terms and is within the 15% of worst wards in relation to the health, education and child poverty domains.  The area is poorly serviced in terms of statutory provision and has been affected by the polarisation that has occurred as a result of the troubles and has a strong single identity protestant culture. There is no statutory provision for women in the area.  Ballybeen Women’s Centre is the only community development project aimed at addressing the educational, health and social support needs of women in the area.

Influences on Case Study: 

DHSSPS: Making It Better through Pharmacy in the Community

Transforming Your Care

Policy and Other Problems: 

Not specified in case study.

Prior Experience with Health Literacy Across Sectors: 

Programme delivered in partnership with community and statutory sector. A criterion for funding is to demonstrate partnership working, showing evidence of interagency and multi-disciplinary skills in working across a range of statutory agencies and across health and social service. Links were made with Action Cancer and Aware Defeat Depression.

Ballybeen Women’s Centre has been delivering quality services in an area of low and weak community infrastructure for the past twenty years.  Ballybeen Women’s Centre was established to address the developmental needs of women within a community objectively defined as disadvantaged and has developed expertise in the design and delivery of education and training programmes, health promotion programmes, cultural diversity programmes, family and childcare programmes and advice and support. 

The Community Development Health Network has extensive experience of a community development approach and knowledge of the social model of health.

Concept of Health and Health Literacy: 

Health literacy not specifically mentioned but the programme addresses the needs of local women to help improve quality of life and address issues that affect everyday life for example, including mental health, minor ailments, smoking cessation and diet and physical activity.

The groups and the Pharmacist worked closely together and built links with other voluntary/community organisations that enabled them to have access to a network of additional support and advice.

The programme supported positive health literacy outcomes without explicitly mentioning health literacy.

Prioritisation of Issue: 

DHSSPS: Making It Better through Pharmacy in the Community

Building Community Pharmacy Project, Community Development Health Network

Formal Processes: 

On receipt of applications, CDHN undertakes an initial screening process to ensure completeness, after which the application is then passed onto the Assessment Panel or referred back to the applicant for further information.  The Programme Manager then prepares a summary of the applications for the members of the assessment panel which is made up of members of the BCPP steering group.  Representatives from community sectors organisations, pharmacists who have been involved in delivering a BCPP programme and representatives from Health and Social Care Board.

Each member of the Assessment Panel is assigned a number of application forms to assess.  Whilst the members of the Assessment Panel assess those applications assigned to them, the summary of applications provides a valuable overview of all the applications which have been submitted.  The Assessment Panel review Level 2 and Level 3 applications over one day.  The CDHN Officers provide support to the applicants by phone or in some instances on a one to one basis throughout the process.  Support includes helping potential applicants identify suitable partners, identifying local needs, developing appropriate approaches to addressing needs and completing the application process.

After the Assessment Panel meeting, a Letter of Offer is issued to the successful applicants.  Unsuccessful applicants are notified and are offered a debriefing session.

The Monitoring Officer visits the applicant organisation to discuss the financial monitoring aspects of the project.  The Programme Manager will also visit the projects to support them in issues relating to partnership working, using a community development approach, troubleshooting, networking, developing future opportunities and programme and budget changes.

Availability of Resources: 

The programme took place over 6 months and involved interactive information sessions and 1-1’s with the pharmacist; links were made with Action Cancer and Aware Defeat Depression.  Pre and post programme evaluations capture capacity building during the period of the programme.

The BCPP is an ongoing programme and groups can apply for Level 1 (£2,000), Level 2 (£10,000 x 2 years) and Level 3 (£10,000 x 3 years) funding.

Capacity-Building Activities: 

Ballybeen worked with two core groups of women over six months and discussed issues identified by the groups.   By the end of the programme the women had built up awareness around issues such as the menopause, depression and the many different treatment options now on offer particularly at the pharmacist.  The women learnt new skills, made new friends together with the Pharmacist built links with other voluntary/community organisations making them aware of a network of additional support and advice. Participants were also made aware of other minor ailments dealt with at the pharmacy such as Blood Pressure testing and medicine reviews. The participants now know that they can see a pharmacist at any time for advice before having to see a GP.

Social Mechanisms: 

Ballybeen worked with two core groups of women over six months and discussed issues identified by the groups.   Both groups worked well together and discussed their experiences and asked questions freely.  Over the course of the programme a good rapport was established between the pharmacist and group members, that by the end of the project some of the women were calling into the pharmacy to ask her advice.  The women learnt new skills and made new friendships.  The groups and the Pharmacist worked closely together and built links with other voluntary/community organisations that enabled them to have access to a network of additional support and advice.


Project was designed in partnership with the group to address their needs. It was delivered in their local area by a local pharmacist.  The relationship with the pharmacist was key and their availability to consult outside of the programme time.


The funding available through BCPP and flexibility to work in an interactive way at a venue familiar to participants, made the programme feasible and addressed a highlighted issue.


Programme can be sustained for a number of years through Level 2 and 3 funding of BCPP.

The pharmacy has reported an increase in participants routinely calling in to ask for advice.  The participants now have a greater awareness of services in the area where they can seek help i.e. the pharmacy and other local support organisations/agencies.

Overall this was a successful project with the pharmacist hoping to get involved in another BCPP programme.

Other Comments / Information: 

The BCPP funding process is very support intensive.  The CDHN staff offer extensive support in both the application process and throughout the life of the projects.  This support is offered in a variety of ways such as visits, telephone and email.

The importance of this support was highlighted by groups in both the questionnaire returns analysed and in the case studies. The support offered by CDHN throughout the life of the BCPP projects is believed to be essential to the success of the projects.

Headline Message(s): 

Connected communities are healthy communities.


An evaluation of the BCPP in Ballybeen reported 75 % of women involved in the project now feel they have things in common with other people and have made healthy changes to how they live.

CDHN provides initial Financial and Monitoring training, as well as evaluation training for the successful applicants. Projects provide quarterly monitoring returns to CDHN for Level 2 projects and a six monthly return for Level 1 and level 3 projects.

CDHN implements a system of 100% vouching of expense claims.  Whilst this is the most effective method of ensuring that all expenses claims are valid, it is highly labour intensive both on the part of CDHN staff and the project staff. 

Building Community Pharmacy Project Evaluation Report