A health and literacy programme to benefit the Gypsy, Roma and traveller communities has been launched in Fenland.
Hearty Lives is a two year £70,000 programme that has been funded by the British Heart Foundation. It will be implemented by the Cambridgeshire Traveller Health Team, the only one of its kind in the country.
The scheme will be made up of two elements – a pharmacy side looking at what medication people are taking and making sure they know how to use it correctly and a literacy side, looking to improve the literacy skills of those that cannot read or write.
Janet Watkinson, public health pharmacist, said: “We give out medication to people and we don’t know whether they can read the instructions.”
As well as looking at medication, particularly heart medication, free health checks will be given to all those aged between 40 and 74 who are not on any medication.
Rose Wilson is from the Traveller Health Team and said illiteracy is a big issue that is closely linked in with health, as many people will avoid getting treatment because they need to take someone with them.
They have had great success with the literacy programme, which works one-on-one with people in their home so they don’t need to feel embarrassed or self-conscious.
The team has high hopes for the project, which if successful could be rolled out in other areas.