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  • What is HAREF?

    HAREF with people logo   

    HAREF stands for Health and Race Equality Forum. A part of Newcastle CVS’ Support and Development team, we work with communities and organisations throughout Newcastle and Gateshead to reduce health inequalities linked to ethnicity and culture.

    HAREF has achieved a lot through collaboration and has remained strong for over fifteen years. We are committed to improving the quality of life of everyone in the diverse community of Newcastle and Gateshead.

    Read more about why HAREF is important and our recent achievements in the drop down menu below.

    How can we help?

    HAREF is a vital support network for practitioners, community organisations and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. We provide this support in a number of ways:

    • Helena Ali is our Community Engagement Officer who works with community groups to learn about the needs of BAME communities in Newcastle and Gateshead and where we can offer better support
    • We offer valuable signposting and linking of services to communities, and work in partnership to ensure communities get the right information about services and health issues
    • We talk to local health services, including the NHS, and make recommendations about how access into their services can be improved
    • Our HAREF Network event takes place twice a year and provides a platform for discussion and awareness around health and inequality
    • We also facilitate a Community Forum for Newcastle Gateshead NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who is responsible for local community NHS services. This forum is for practitioners who work directly with a particular community or group who had a protected characteristic under the 2010 Equality Act. The forum brings real issues that affect those communities to help inform commissioning and service development decisions
    • We work with Newcastle CVS’ BAME Health and Wellbeing Training and Development Officer, Hamna Begum, to deliver training on equality, diversity and health
    • Our monthly HAREF email bulletin is for practitioners, community groups and local people to share information about health inequalities, events and research findings. To feature in the bulletin, subscribe or view past issues please see more information below

    If you have any questions relating to any of our services or would like to find out more please call 0191 232 7445 (option 1), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or complete the contact form:

    Contact HAREF

  • Why is HAREF important?

    Why do we need HAREF?

    BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities face specific issues around health, which can vary between different ethnic groups. ‘Is Britain Fairer’ (2015) reported that the relationship between race and health inequalities is complex and that some (but not all) ethnic groups experience significantly higher levels of ill health and premature death than the rest of the population. For example, the report stated that people from the Black/African/Caribbean/Black British ethic group had the highest rate of contact with specialist mental health services and that these groups, and those of Pakistani ethnicity, were more likely to have been compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. Another report, Healing a Divided Britain, stated that Black African women had a mortality rate four times that of white women in the UK and that black and minority ethnic women and their babies are more at risk of poor outcomes in maternity. In the UK, type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among people of South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean and black African descent than among the white population (DH, 2006) and they also tend to progress from impaired glucose tolerance (a precursor) to diabetes more than twice the rate of white populations (Webb et al. 2011)

    Compounding these issues are further barriers in finding and accessing health services, which HAREF aims to tackle. Lack of interpreting is one such barrier that has been found to produce adverse effects for patients, practitioners, providers of public health teams, commissioners and communities (Stallabrass, S. 2011). For some groups more likely to be in poverty, such as black and minority ethnic groups, access to primary care services is good but access to other services including dentistry and acute care is less so. Furthermore, the actual experience of care can be worse even when access is good (Kings Fund 2014).



    What have we achieved?

    Tackling health during Ramadhan

    After consulting the local Muslim community, we designed and delivered some 3000 Ramadhan calendars to mosques in and around Newcastle and Gateshead that included information about safe practices for fasting and diabetes. We also promoted other health opportunities for Ramadhan, such as the NHS stop smoking service and Diabetes information from Diabetes UK and the Diabetes centre.

    Influencing future doctors

    Working in partnership with the Refugee Regional Forum North East, our annual medical student’s workshops offer ‘food for thought’ to future doctors providing health services to people going through (or who have been through) the asylum seeking process. We received a lot of positive feedback from these workshops.

    “I felt like I learned a lot about the troubles facing asylum seekers, and reinforced the need for good communication within the medical setting”

    “I learned a lot about the barriers to healthcare and in the future I will be more proactive in trying to support people that are new to the system”

    HAREF Network

    The last HAREF network meeting focused on; mental health, wellbeing, welfare reform and austerity; access, information barriers and communication; and prevention and early intervention.

    “Great @newcastlecvs HAREF network meeting on #Health #equality yesterday in #Newcastle loads of great projects in the room and potential for joint working! #makingadifference.” (Asylum Matters tweet)

    “Thank you very much – it’s a very valuable network.”

    “The atmosphere was collaborative and really encouraged connection with others, partially through highlighting some of the elements that are common to all. I thought it was well facilitated and would recommend to others with relevant remit.”

  • Subscribe to the HAREF e-bulletin

    Receive monthly updates direct to your inbox about all matters relating to health and equality

    Please follow the link below and select ‘HAREF’ from the list of newsletters to subscribe. You can also subscribe to any other Newcastle CVS bulletins that may be relevant to you and manage your preferences at any time using the link at the bottom of our emails.

    Subscribe to HAREF

    If you are having any difficulty in subscribing to our newsletter please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    The HAREF bulletin is your chance to share updates, events and research with local practitioners, community groups and individuals.

    If you would like to feature in our email bulletin, please email a short paragraph and any relevant links to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Information and Documents

    Information and documents from HAREF projects and events

  • Past issues of HAREF e-bulletin

  • HAREF Network information

    HAREF Network Meeting

    The HAREF network is an opportunity for health and care organisations to come together and look at health inequalities for BAME communities and access to services.

    The next HAREF Network Meeting is Tuesday 13 November 9:15am to 12:30pm, Breeze Creatives, Bamburgh House
    The next HAREF (Health and Race Equality Forum) Network meeting will be on the theme of Hate Crime, and the Hate Crime Partnership will be delivering their training, led by Show Racism the Red Card. This training will help you have a better understanding of hate crime and how it affects communities, about how to respond to hate crime and incidents, and what services you can report to and help support service users. We will also be having a group discussion on experiences of hate incidents in communities and what do people think the gaps are in terms of support and for reporting.

    The HAREF network is an opportunity for health and care organisations to come together and look at health inequalities for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and access to services.

    You will need to book your place for this meeting and to do this This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    The last HAREF Network Meeting took place Wednesday 27 June and followed a theme of mental health, as this was the key concern for the network at the last meeting. 

    Speakers included

    • Freedom fom Torture - working with those affected by trauma
    • Regional Refugee Forum members - the impact of culture on dealing with mental health
    • Streetwise - working with young men about mental health issues
    • Citizens UK - what else can you do to influence change?
    • Tyneside MIND - your mental health and supporting staff in your organisation

    HAREF Network online resources pack

    In response to the Network Meeting we have produced an online resource pack that follows several broad-ranging themes in order to help communities and organisations. This pack is not a definitive guide or a full directory of organisations! This is intended to be a short working guide that can quickly help signpost people. It is intended to be a quick pointer to raise awareness of some of the services that can help you and service users.

    View the resource pack (pdf) - please download this pdf and view in Adobe Reader in order to activate all links within the document 

    HAREF network 2018

    Past Network Meeting notes

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