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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Laird

Radical Reformers ep.68: The Wider Determinants of Health with Elly De Decker

This episode is with Elly De Decker, the Chief Executive of the Bromley by Bow Centre, a nationally renowned community centre in East London.

Before this, Elly was the England Director of the National Lottery Community Fund, a huge job controlling a budget of £400m. Elly describes her decision to move from this highly visible national role to an ultra-local community-focused one.


We talk about the support the Bromley By Bow centre provides, which ranges from health and wellbeing services, employment and skills support through to adult social care. The most impactful thing about the centre is the physical environment and culture which creates an “oasis” for local people to come to and get the help they need.


The centre works closely with the NHS as well as council adult social care and public health services which gives Elly great insight into what’s working in the current system and what isn’t. We talk about the importance of the wider social determinants of health and how these are not yet prioritised by the formal system despite the impact they have on preventing demand for expensive NHS interventions.


Elly and I discuss about how leaders will often talk the talk on better collaboration - but often this doesn’t filter down to day-to-day activities and therefore organisations and services remain siloed and people seeking support see no real difference.


A key element of effective collaboration has to be better data sharing which allows partners to target their support in the best possible way and to also track their impact. Unfortunately, this remains a difficult issue and is often left in the too difficult pile.


Having said all this, Elly is remarkably optimistic and positive. Her mantra is “assume it’s possible!” and I think you will be inspired by this conversation.


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