Breaking Down Barriers To Healthcare And COVID Vaccinations

The Women’s Centre Cornwall (TWCC) has supported a flagship multi-agency vaccination day at the Minorca Lane site in Bugle, St Austell, which for many years has had a ‘no go area’ reputation.

Project Aims

The multi-agency approach meant that many people with no previous access to health services were not only offered their COVID vaccinations, but also guidance on the importance of facemasks and social distancing.

The day was organised by the Clays Practice GP Surgery, and built on the success of an original project set up by TWCC in 2018 that looked at ways to engage and support women in the community.

Diverse Needs

One area that engagement workers focused on was the village of Bugle, and in particular, a cluster of static caravan sites known as Minorca Lane.

The site provides accommodation for people from many diverse backgrounds who face additional barriers to accessing services and support. These barriers include having limited knowledge of the services available, speaking English as a second language, and experiencing discrimination from wider society.

TWCC’s work has focused in particular on women from migrant worker families.

Discussions with these women highlighted the barriers of childcare, transport, and new experiences – such as visiting the surgery alone.

In 2019, a collaboration between TWCC and the Clays Practice gave the women of Minorca Lane the opportunity to visit the surgery, where TWCC provided translators to help with any language barriers.

Three of the women who attended were subsequently found to have life-threatening conditions.

Continuity Of Care

Taking on board the lessons learned from this event, the community engagement workers maintained the relationship between the surgery and the residents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, another event was planned. This time not just between TWCC and the Clays Practice, but involving other agencies too. The event would also take place on-site at Minorca Lane, instead of at a GP surgery.

Clays Practice, with the support of the Clinical Commissioning Group, visited the site with a van, nursing staff, and four translators to offer vaccinations and advice to residents who would otherwise have remained unvaccinated.

This time, Clays Practice were able to reach more people – vaccinating 35 residents, registering two families with a GP, and enrolling two children in the local school. Also, the Citizens Advice Bureau was able to provide support with the EU resettlement scheme to several individuals who needed it.

TWCC community engagement worker Susie Brown said that:

“The legacy from the original community engagement project is that Minorca Lane now has a range of agencies all working together, sharing information, and supporting each other to respond to the needs of individuals from the Minorca Lane community.”

The Women’s Centre’s Work

After more than 25 years of work in Cornwall, TWCC still finds that sexual and domestic violence are the biggest barriers to women’s empowerment.

In addition to providing specialist support to survivors of abuse, the organisation actively reaches out to women who are currently experiencing abuse, and those at risk of abuse in future.

Sexual and domestic abuse are deeply traumatic experiences with serious and long-standing consequences, including poor health and wellbeing, a negative impact on relationships, low self-worth, and problems with concentration and confidence. Many abuse survivors will also experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

TWCC’s empowerment model of support helps women and girls to understand what has happened and how it has affected them.

Our Vision

TWCC wants all women and girls to enjoy their human rights, reach their full potential, and actively participate in their own lives and communities.

TWCC offers a wide range of free, safe, and confidential specialist support to women and girls in our community who have experienced any form of sexual violence and/or domestic abuse at any time in their lives. 

No Excuse For Abuse

Each year, The Women’s Centre Cornwall supports over 1000 women and girls who have been abused. To help them continue to offer their services, there are many ways you can help – such as by signing up to their ‘Friends’ scheme.

This enables members of the public to set up a regular donation of as little as £1 per week, and every penny raised will be used to work with the women and girls who are supported by the charity.

As a Friend of TWCC, not only will you make a difference towards ending violence against women and girls, but you will also receive details of news and events, invites to campaigns and activities, a quarterly newsletter, and an exclusive Friends-only event held once a year.

Upcoming Events

Why not sign up for our IT’S NOT OK 5K virtual event?

On August 1st 2021, run, walk, swim, cycle, jog, or dance 5k. Take part wherever you want, as long as it’s safe and legal. Entry costs £5 per person – raise £20 to get a medal, and raise £30 to be in with a chance of winning prizes. You can register your place by emailing

To find out more about The Women’s Centre Cornwall, please visit

Our helpline number is 01208 77099 and is available between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday, and on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 9pm.

Press release by The Women’s Centre Cornwall

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