Setting the scene

Mustard conducted a multi-stage research project with hard to recruit members of the BAME community in Dudley to explore contentious issues such as obesity, health, and needed changes to Government led initiatives in the NHS.

The context

Dudley and the surrounding area were struggling with an obesity problem, which was putting extra strain on their already stretched NHS services. They were aware that obesity levels were much higher amongst the local BAME communities, and needed to know how best to counteract this to improve the population’s future health.

What we did

We worked closely with local community leads to recruit hard to reach groups and engaged with these groups in the manners best suited to them – for some, this meant meeting with their local community lead in a women-only space, for others, it meant a roundtable setting in their local community space. We also conducted a street survey with local residents of all ethnicities to understand what other perceptions, biases, and experiences existed. After the qualitative stage, we recruited some volunteers to an ethnographic stage where they filmed their eating, cooking, and living habits in their home so the NHS could see for themselves how these communities lived and ate at home, and how they might change services to better suit their real day-to-day needs.

The results

Engaging with such a vast audience really allowed us to see how in-home behaviours changed for different communities, and highlighted how much of an important part food plays in the day-to-day life and culture for many people, regardless of ethnicity. Many participants from the qualitative and ethnographic stages also volunteered to become ambassadors for the NHS to better represent their local communities, so that future communications, services, and products could be designed with them in mind.

The response