Creating a thriving neighbourhood

Hannah Downing - 11 July 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“[Co-create provided a] really good way of working with another organisation and teasing our own ideas and models of what works well and what doesn’t. Working with Co-create removed for me, the fear of failing. If it doesn’t work, that’s okay we’ll just try it a different way.”

Ross Lambdon is the Associate Director for Transformation and Digital at South Fulham Primary Care Network and recently joined a cohort of PCNs working with Co-create over six months to explore how they could improve involvement with primary care in their local communities. Below he shares more about his chosen challenge, engagement plan for the next six months and working with Co-create.  



We’re a network of seven GP practices in the local area of Fulham and Parsons Green in Southwest London. We like to put ourselves forward for different opportunities, so when this came up, we wanted to grab it with both hands.  

I’m personally very passionate around community engagement. I want to explore how working together, networking and working with the ‘coalition of the willing’ can support communities and residents to be better connected with local health and wellbeing initiatives, programmes and ideas.   

That’s where I stepped into this space with Co-create. For me it was about exploring how to create a wider thriving neighbourhood and this six-month programme allowed me to develop lots of that thinking.  

Chosen challenge

Our idea within the PCN wasn’t patient engagement but wider community engagement and an infrastructure that we want to embed. A thriving neighbourhood is what we’re envisioning – somewhere everyone has equitable access and a voice. It’s owned by everyone in the local area.

Initially I was looking at women’s health as we have this workstream in our PCN but capacity meant there would be some problems being able to deliver. I knew we also wanted to look at men’s health so decided to focus my time on that and look at how we can create a piece of engagement with a certain cohort.    

I worked with Amanda, a Co-create associate around the engagement piece, and they helped to make sure we were asking the right type of questions through our engagement piece to get as much information from our patient cohort as possible 


Working with Co-create  

For me, working with Co-create has helped removed the fear of failing. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work – we’ll try a different way! The first session was face to face and that was a huge benefit as we all felt the energy of the room. We took time to explore who we all were and what we were trying to uncover and achieve.   

This project has given me some protected time to focus on my chosen challenge. It’s been difficult to get things done away from the sessions because of time but without that time I wouldn’t have even got as far as identifying a cohort and sending out a survey. It would have been a vision and a pipe dream but having some deadlines and support from the Co-create team has really helped me move things forward.   

Co-create have lots of experience working with NHS bodies which is great. It’s been beneficial to have that ‘thinking outside of the box’ approach that the team  bring and for them to give us some deadlines too. All the team are open, honest, and I’ve really enjoyed the tools and resources they’ve shared with us that we can continue to use.  


The next six months  

In the next six months, we’re planning on running a women’s menopause forum and starting to identify opportunities to engage further with businesses, local activities, and people in the community so we can continue the work on men’s health.    

We might not achieve everything in the next six months but if we have a good plan and roadmap in place, then that’s great! The end goal is to have a ‘Thriving Fulham’ – a network of local organisations knowing what we do, what they do and how we can collaborate to supports the community.  

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