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Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum, Building Community Pharmacy Partnership

Community Development and Health Network (CDHN)
Date of Project: 
Geography of Project: 
older people, partnership, pharmacy, community, social isolation, physical activity, mental well-being
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.

The programme aims to improve accessibility and responsiveness re engagement in local services, particularly of more disadvantaged groups; change use and understanding of pharmacy and associated services; perceived improvements in health and understanding of how to take increased responsibility for health.

Context of Community or Target Group: 

Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum (NSCF) was set up to address the needs of the older people within the Newtownabbey area. They target people aged 50+ to help them improve their quality of life and address issues that affect their everyday life for example, social isolation, health issues, physical activity, mental well-being and mobility.

This is NSCF’s 3rd BCPP funded project in which they continued to build on the strong links they forged with their local pharmacist. They worked with three groups exploring health and well-being for those 50+ while exploring pharmacy services and social isolation. The programme took place over nine months and involved interactive information sessions, 1-1’s and a celebration event at the end.

Influences on Case Study: 

DHSSPS: Making It Better through Pharmacy in the Community, ageing population, 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.

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 people aged 50+ to help improve quality of life and address issues that affect everyday life for example, social isolation, health issues, physical activity, mental well-being and mobility.

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.

The Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum worked to explore health and well-being for those 50+ while exploring pharmacy services and social isolation.

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 9 months and involved interactive information sessions, 1-1’s and a celebration event.  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: 

The projected targeted people aged 50+ to help improve quality of life and address issues that affect everyday life for example, social isolation, health issues, physical activity, mental well-being and mobility. 

The project continues to build strong links with the local pharmacist.  Working with three groups exploring health and well-being for people aged 50+, while exploring pharmacy services and social isolation.  The programme took place over nine months and involved interactive information sessions, 1-1's and a celebration event at the end. 

Links were made with Fold Housing Care and Support, Newtownabbey 

Borough Council, Age NI and Cancer Focus NI. A number of health issues were identified during the programme such as depression, osteoporosis and smoking cessation.

Social Mechanisms: 

Interactive delivery of programme, the outcome report highlights that confidence of participants increased over the course of the programme and they were able to identify and share experience of existing health concerns.

As the programme progressed a growing confidence within all the groups' enabled members of the groups' to discuss personal issues for eg, some of the men in the group appeared to suffer from depression.  The Pharmacist was able to address this and signpost them to other services that would be able to help them, others were referred to their GP.  Through the project Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum and the Pharmacist were able to gain an insight into health issues affecting older people such as osteoporosis and advice on medication.  Feedback from the group was very positive with many making lifestyle changes and now attending the Pharmacy for blood pressure checks.  Additionally the Pharmacist has reported an increase in the number of participants visiting the Pharmacy on a more regular basis and who are now more confident about asking questions regarding their medication. As the project progressed the Pharmacist was able to adapt their service to take into account the needs of people who are housebound eg. Bringing the smoking cessation and blood pressure monitoring services out of a Pharmacy setting and into patient’s homes.


The 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, as they were available to consult outside of the programme time.


BCPP funding was available through CDHN.  The project was flexible and allowed groups to work in an interactive way at a venue familiar to participants and addressed a highlighted issue.


The BCPP programme can be sustained for up to 6 years through Level 1, 2 and 3 funding. Overall this was a very successful project with the pharmacist and Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum benefitting from each other’s knowledge as well as learning about other services available within the area.  The Pharmacist and Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum are hoping to take the knowledge he has learned through the programme and expand it throughout the community.

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.


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