Mhairi and Joanne from LGOWIT in the Highlands speak about their experience of funding through the Self Management IMPACT Fund.
Let’s get on with it together (LGOWIT) is a partnership of voluntary organisations, NHS, Local Authority and University of the Highlands and Islands who collectively want to support people with a long term health condition to self-manage.
Highland Third Sector Interface (TSI) were funded to develop and refine the LGOWIT work test this out in different areas across Highland.
Highland TSI had done some pilot work on the Let’s Get on With It Together (LGOWIT) concept and the impact of this work seemed to be very successful in terms of finding different ways and activities to support people to self manage in their local area. The next step for them was to develop the partnerships and the LGOWIT work based on what people had said would be useful for them to be able to self manage life with a long term condition in a disparate, rural area.
“We purposefully kept the ideas broad so that there was still room to develop activity based around what people wanted” – Joanne McCoy
It was a real positive that the project was based within Highland TSI as it was itself a young organisation, this allowed them to develop the project alongside, using the growing local knowledge and links as well as the strategic connections that Highland TSI has developed over the years. This set up allowed a real, ground up approach to the evolution of LGOWIT and ensured that it was embedded in the community.
“From our pilot the partners had learned that there was real added value of being hosted within Highland TSI and this was key to the evolution of the project” – Mhairi Wylie
The grant from the Self Management IMPACT Fund allowed the project to grow and develop and set the scene for culture change in Highland. However, they found that enabling culture change was far easier said than done and took a lot of time and patience. There was a lot of pressure on the team with expectations that the team would be able to do everything to do with self management. They recognised that there was no point in reinventing the wheel when there is already good work going on that could be tapped into and allow more partnership working to take place.
“We started from scratch as a small organisation covering a huge area, but we are now known – people know who LGOWIT are and what we do.”
The team found that the flexible nature of the Self Management IMPACT Fund has been helpful in allowing them to adapt and shape the project as it has evolved in the area, as well as being able to use the connections that the ALLIANCE encourages and offers to promote their work.
“The Fund has allowed us to grow and develop to where we are now and it’s been really valuable to have been involved with the wider work of the ALLIANCE too.”
Despite some of the challenges that came up in developing a culture of self management in Highland, Let’s Get on With it Together are now seeing a real shift in the activity in the area and in the general understanding of the concept of self management. Working in partnership with other local organisations and agencies has been key and has allowed them to develop a good reputation and trust in the community. The work continues to be developed in and across Highland to foster a continued shift in attitude to self management through the work which has been awarded funding through the Transforming Self Management in Scotland Fund.