Exploring potential for occupational therapy practice models within areas of social deprivation: a qualitative inquiry within a community-centred food cooperative

Richard Adams, Helen Atkin, Richard Lee, Simon Hackett, Katie Hackett*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background A health inequalities gap exists between wealthy and deprived areas. Community-level occupation-focused interventions may support citizens and address inequities within their environments. Since the global financial crash of 2008 and fiscal policy changes within the United Kingdom, there has been a rise in food insecurity. Community volunteer initiatives have responded by providing for their residents. The aim of this study was to explore how occupational therapists may be agents for social change through exploring perspectives of members and volunteers from a community food cooperative in an area of social deprivation. Methods Eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with cooperative members and volunteers within a food cooperative established to address food insecurity in a local community. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results We found three main themes: It’s Not a Foodbank, Shared Hardship and a cross-cutting theme of Community. The results suggest occupation-focused responses can support the development of community and collective occupations thereby contributing solutions to shared problems. Conclusion A community-centred, rights-based approach has supported local community need where socio-economic disadvantage and health inequalities were identified. Scope exists for occupational therapists to work genuinely with (not for) communities to address occupational injustice through collective occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Early online date15 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2022

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