History and Background
Derman, a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, was set up in Hackney in 1991 by members of the Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Kurdish communities in partnership with local GPs and the health authority. Its aim was to provide bilingual health advocacy to enable our newly arrived community members to access urgently needed health services. Formerly known as Health Advocacy and Counselling Services for Kurdish, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot Communities - Derman now provides a range of health and well-being related services to Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Kurdish people. Each year we deal with more than 17,000 requests for help in both Hackney and Haringey (Derman services came to an end in Haringey at the end of march 09 due to lack of funding).
The Derman Bridge Project was commissioned by the Bridge NDC1 in 2002, to provide bi-lingual health advocacy for the large population of Kurdish, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot residents in a small area of Haringey. The first advocate was in post by April 2003 who was joined by two more within a couple of months. Advocacy sessions were being run from 5 GP's, a Primary School and a Chemist in the area. The take up of the project by both clients and service providers was very promising. 3 full-time bilingual health advocates made around 4860 contacts each year, operating from 5 GP surgeries and two clinics. Until this project started there was no bilingual health advocacy service for the Kurdish, Turkish, and Turkish Cypriot communities in Haringey, and Derman Bridge continues to be the sole provider of this service for the community. This service is now funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund.
Towards the end of 2003, due to the late start of the project there was some under- spent in the budget which was used to create a small counselling provision. The need for this service was made evident through informal feedback from GP's and Health advocates.
The Bridge NDC is a £50 million regeneration programme based in South Tottenham and Seven Sisters area. It is made up of a partnership between local residents and key agencies such as Haringey Council, the National Health Service, the Metropolitan Police and Job Centre Plus. It began in April 2001 and runs for 10 years.
Derman was then one of the very first to be firmly based within its client community. It was a pioneer then and still is. Derman remains unique and provides a model for others to learn from for two essential reasons:
Derman is a good example of a self-help organisation springing out of its constituent community. London is a truly multi-lingual, multi-cultural city - a vital resource for this country and its people. The Kurdish, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot people make a key contribution to the economy, gastronomy and culture of London. Any resource needs an infrastructure to operate effectively. Derman is an integral part of that infrastructure and one our communities have created for themselves.
Secondly Derman is also an excellent example of holistic care, the importance of which is increasingly recognized today. An individual needs to be treated as a whole person not just as having an illness or a problem. Otherwise that individual is confronted by a separate collection of services often unrelated to each other and they fall between the gaps.
To overcome this, our organisation started by offering a health advocacy service from which to build integrated responses to the health and social care needs of people in our communities.