Help Sheets: Building Culturally inclusive Social Support Groups


Opening English-speaking Social Support Groups (SSG) to people with no or low English proficiency can be challenging, and staff and volunteers may find themselves at a loss when trying to ensure participants feel welcome and included.  Language specific SSG will always have a place and provide great value and connection for participants.  However, there are not always groups available for every language or cultural group, there can be long wait lists for these groups and there will always be people who wish to join an SSG that is not CALD specific.  Building culturally inclusive SSG have multiple benefits to the group, participants and for wider community cohesion.  

To assist SSG understand the different elements that support group to be culturally inclusive the EMR Alliance and the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health have worked together to develop a series of Help Sheets.  

The Help Sheets are based on interviews and observations conducted with SSG in the Eastern Metropolitan Region in the second half of 2016. Interviews were conducted with Access and Support Workers, SSG Coordinators, participants and their families. A Consultation Report outlining these discussions and findings can be found here.  

The Help Sheets should also be considered in conjunction with the EMR Alliance Connecting the Pieces video and resource that explains the unique aspects of diversity, person-centred care and the relationship between these approaches.

Access the Help Sheets here

Related Information

Language Services Guide

The Language Services Guide is designed to support and encourage all agencies, no matter how established or confident they are in their practices, to aim for continuous improvement in their provision of language services.

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Using Teach-Back via an interpreter

‘Teach-back’ enables better communication by inviting health practitioners to ask patients, to repeat key information verbally back to the practitioner to ensure mutual understanding and facilitate better care.

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Managing bilingual staff

A guide around the issues of managing employees who agree to use their language other than English (LOTE) in the workplace. These employees can supplement the work carried out by qualified interpreters.

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