John Cassidy from SCHW talks about what it was like to have a consortium approach funded by the Self Management IMPACT Fund.
Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing is dedicated to promoting and delivering health improvement and reducing health inequalities in many of Scotland’s communities that are in most need.
Out and About supports individuals with long term conditions and the wider community in 5 areas of Scotland to tackle the causes of social isolation and health inequalities.
Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing (SCHW) and the community led organisations who are part of the SCHW consortium spoke to communities to find out what the need for a Community Navigator approach would be, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“It was important to us that the Community Navigators were based in and part of organisations already embedded in and trusted by a community, rather than an unknown organisation being ‘parachuted in’” – John Cassidy
SCHW recognise that Out and About’s strength came from the fact that the support was provided by existing community organisations which were known by members of the community, which people reported they were more comfortable with, rather than approaching statutory agencies. The fact that the 5 Community Navigators were part of the local “anchor” organisations meant that they were able to become a key part of the community, but it was also important that they came together to discuss and share their learning and any challenges they faced.
“This partnership and peer support between organisations was a very successful approach which worked well to help us identify issues and tackle them effectively.”
SCHW found that the need for the project far outstripped the capacity of the project. This meant one of the challenges the project faced was the need to balance the wish to provide support but also to manage the expectations of the referring agencies.
“Gaining and building the trust with health professionals who would be referring was important and took a while, but once it was there we ensured this trust was continued by giving them regular updates on the projects and the individuals they had referred”
The biggest piece of support that the ALLIANCE provided which SCHW found helpful was the ability to be more flexible, both with the project plans at the beginning, and in the ability to be flexible when there were changes needed to achieve the outcomes.
“It was very helpful to know the breadth of work that the ALLIANCE does and the support that was available if we needed it.”
The Out and About project has been successful in gaining the support of local funding in some of the areas where the pilot took place. This ensured the continued support for individuals in these areas. This could not have happened if there had not been such a strong partnership learning approach, which focussed on local organisations providing support in an area they know well.
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