The organisation recognises the real contribution people make in establishing healthy communities through working alongside formal services
Established in 2017 Compassionate Inverclyde aims to enable and empower people to help and support one another in times of increased health need, crisis and bereavement. The role of families, friends and neighbours working alongside formal services is recognised as being crucial to the creation of a compassionate community.
Compassionate Inverclyde clearly demonstrates key elements of co-production recognising the real contribution people make to establishing and maintaining healthy communities, social justice and local networks which support wellbeing, trust and good relationships.
From the onset, the Programme has been a collaborative partnership supported by a Board that included representatives from the community, CVS Inverclyde, Inverclyde Carers Centre, Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, Scottish Care, Police Scotland, Acute Services, University of West of Scotland, West of Scotland College, Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, Your Voice and the Health and Social Care Alliance.
An example of Compassionate Inverclyde programmes include providing ‘Back Home Boxes’ which contain provisions and are gifted to anyone being discharged from Inverclyde Royal Hospital.
The real evidence of the impact that Compassionate Inverclyde has made to people’s lives can be found in the stories people tell:
“Shona lost her confidence following having to give up her job after twenty-seven years due to ill health. As a consequence, she became low in mood and was reluctant to leave the house. Becoming involved with Compassionate Clyde has meant that Shona has regained her confidence, no longer feels isolated and is able to volunteer with the Programme despite feeling pain. “Volunteering with Compassionate Inverclyde has given me a lifeline.”
“William has lost two stone since volunteering due to the amount of walking involved between wards to deliver the Back Home Boxes. William helps manage the Compassionate Inverclyde Facebook page, compiles statistics and spreadsheets for the Programme as well as designing leaflets. William feels that the key to the success of Compassionate Inverclyde is because “it has captured everyone’s imagination. It is a good idea and a welcome thing.”
“Ruth is from Manchester and volunteers. She has identified the reason for the success of the Programme as being due to the healthy numbers of volunteers and the people of Inverclyde who are genuinely kind. In addition, she says, “Compassionate Inverclyde has tapped into a need for people to connect and reach out to one another.”
“There is warmth, enthusiasm and passion for the Programme evident among the volunteers. Betty is a Back Home Volunteer and became involved because it has given her “the opportunity to give something back to the community.”
Unlike years ago, many people no longer have family or friends living nearby. There is growing recognition and concern that this aspect of modern society is leading to more people becoming increasingly social isolated and lonely. This impacts upon the health and wellbeing of individuals and is detrimental to the cohesiveness of communities and society. The Scottish Government is developing a National Strategy to build connected resilient communities that can tackle the problems of social isolation and loneliness (Scottish Government, 2018). Compassionate Communities help address loneliness and social isolation that very often can affect frail and vulnerable people. The evidence from Compassionate Inverclyde is that it is already having an impact and helping to alleviate pressure on Health and Social Care services as since the inception of the Back Home Boxes, Homecare services have not received any crisis calls.