New UPWEB Working Papers: Portuguese and British Health Service Providers and Practices of Welfare Bricolage

Welfare Bricolage in Portuguese Service Providers: From Challenges to Strategies 2017

by Jessica Lopes, Beatriz Padilla, Simone Castellani and Vera Rodrigues (UPWEB)

Project UPWEB explores the multiple approaches that residents living in superdiverse neighbourhoods use to meet their health needs, encompassing the perspectives of service users and providers based on innovative techniques conducted in two superdiverse neighbourhoods in each of these cities: Birmingham (UK), Bremen (Germany), Lisbon (Portugal) and Uppsala (Sweden).

In the recently published WSF Working Paper, the Portuguese team uses its national results to identify the challenges of provision in the context of superdiverse neighbourhoods and the different approaches to service delivery. The article shows that besides of the differences between the two selected neighbourhoods, the providers commonly agreed on four main challenges: the lack of resources in the NHS, the language barrier, the insufficient health literacy of the users and the unclear access conditions.

In the case of Portugal, the project found that the approaches adopted by the providers and their ability to bricolage depends on several factors. Some are relational and positional such as interpersonal skills, empathy capacity and commitment to serving; others are organizationally dependent in the sense that the type and extent of services provided are contingent of the entity where they work as there is a limit on the type of provision they can aim for. Another is the possibility to create networking capacity and collaboration to give sustainability to some viable solutions.

Logics of Welfare Bricolage among UK Service Providers

by Simon Pemberton (UPWEB UK country lead, s.pemberton[a] and Lucy Doos (UPWEB)

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Lucy Doos
UPWEB Simon Pemberton
Simon Pemberton

As part of delivering the Welfare Bricolage project (UPWEB), a team of researchers from the UK have published a WSF Working Paper which explores the ways in which health service providers in the UK have engaged in practices of ‘bricolage’ in order to meet the needs of local populations living in super-diverse neighbourhoods. From a service delivery perspective, the concept of bricolage draws attention to the ways in which service providers may creatively mobilise, utilise and/or re-use different resources – including knowledge and ideas, networks and materials to respond to different health concerns. Bricolage is particularly useful to consider when focusing on super-diverse neighbourhoods as by definition they may be complex, transitional and transnational, and are often ‘resource-poor’ environments.

The research highlighted how super-diverse neighbourhoods can present particular challenges to service providers in terms of the targeting and tailoring of their services, and the ability to respond to evolving needs. These include issues such as population churn and legal status shaping service access, as well as cultural and language barriers, a lack of local knowledge and differential levels of trust in services being provided. In turn providers had developed a number of approaches to address challenges of provision, such as the recruitment of interpreters, an emphasis on continuity of provision and engagement with users over a long period of time to improve levels of trust and to develop highly individualised/personalised care.

In addition, it was evident that ‘third sector’ providers were particularly important in acting as navigators to facilitate connections to multiple agencies, and were helping to construct integrated packages of provision. From a provider – user perspective, there was also evidence of bricolage practices in terms of community leaders associated with particular migrant groups being used by providers to co-design and co-deliver services to improve engagement with those who were argued to be more difficult to reach.

To access the full WSF Working Paper Series, go to