HEALTHWATCH West Berkshire (HWWB) has won a national award for improving health and social care. 

At this year’s Healthwatch England’s Network Awards, HWWB won in the category for improving health and social care.

HWWB has been working to raise awareness of the experiences of health and social care for rough sleepers in West Berkshire. 

After initial research among the homeless and rough sleepers in the district, HWWB found local health services were struggling to understand their needs. This made it difficult for them to access support and assistance. 

Following conversations with 14 homeless people in the area, HWWB created a Rough Sleepers Report, which has led to big changes in how the community is supported in West Berkshire. 

Andrew Sharp, HWWB chief officer, said: “As one of the smallest Healthwatch in the country, I am immensely proud of the team and our voluntary board. 

“We work hard to improve the health and social care outcomes of everyone in our community, working with volunteers, charities and statutory bodies everyday.

“We have helped make real change in the area, but we cannot do this sort of work without the input of our community. 

“Therefore, I would urge everyone to contract us with feedback or come and volunteer if you want to see improvements in local health and social care services — your voice counts!”

The Healthwatch network was established by the government to make sure local patients and users have a greater input in shaping local services.