Taxi Driver Project
Taxi Driver Project – Overview
Community Health Champions from the Halesowen Asian Elderly Association have been developing relationships with local taxi companies in the borough and offering them health information.
“We have friends and family who are taxi drivers – it is difficult for them to have a proper diet and exercise, but we know it’s important because some of them have had heart attacks and strokes, which might have been prevented if they had been more aware. Last year we visited taxi bases and gave out information on bowel cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, smoking, healthy eating and exercise. This year we would like to speak to even more taxi drivers and invite them to an event with health professionals, so they can find out more about good health and wellbeing.”
Supported by the Cancer Health Improvement Officer the Community Health Champions visited different taxi bases in Dudley, Brierley Hill, Lye and Halesowen. They talked to the owners, operators and drivers and explained their role and carried out some questionnaires to find out what sort of health & wellbeing information they would like and how they would like to receive it.
They also identified some barriers to engagement as they encountered a degree of fear and suspicion initially.To address these issues they talked to drivers about their role and why they were volunteering to help share information with taxi drivers and they also worked with the licensing office to confirm that their role was around prevention and not about checking on their suitability to hold a licence.
They followed up their initial visits with further visits to build trust and a strong rapport and shared their own experiences of taking steps to improve their own health and wellbeing. They also offered information and signposting as well as displaying health and wellbeing resources at the taxi bases for the drivers to access.
Who is Involved
Three Community Health Champions from the Halesowen Asian Elderly Association were key to this project
Mr Zafar Mahmud
Mr Main Ul Deen
Mr Shokat Ali
They were supported by the Cancer Health Improvement Adviser and Dudley Council Licensing Committee as well as the owners and operators of the nine taxi bases across Dudley that they worked with.
The CHC’s have supported 9 taxi bases across the borough talking to the drivers in their own language and collecting information about the kind of support which taxi drivers would welcome; having conversations about health checks, early detection and prevention; passing on tips like taking short walks when they are on breaks between calls to keep active and displaying health & wellbeing resources within the bases so that drivers who have not engaged in conversations can access information. They have also talked to friends and family who could help to reinforce these key messages. They are now planning a men’s health event to build on this work.
The Community Health Champions received an Excellence in Public Health Award 2015 for their work with Taxi Drivers and were invited to the House of Commons in March 2015 to celebrate this award and be presented with their certificate by Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health.