Somerset showcased for doing social care differently

Somerset’s trail-blazing work to help people stay independent has been held up as national example of good practice in a report published today (27 March).

The ‘Reimagining Social Care’ report, produced by the influential Think Local Act Personal partnership, showcases the Community Connect approach – developed jointly by the County Council’s Adult Social Care service and various community organisations – as one of just three case studies of innovative new ways of doing things.

The report highlights the success of Community Connect, the growth of Micro-providers, and the Council’s work with village and community agents – all of which focus on understanding and meeting people’s individual needs in their own communities wherever possible.

By helping more people get involved in local activities and find support in their communities and the voluntary sector they are able to live independently at home for longer. As well as being better for the individual, it also limits or delays their need for formal help from the Council and other agencies.

In Somerset, says the report, “They have sought to create a situation where regardless of whom a social care worker is employed by, they work for the best outcome for the people of Somerset”.

Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Services at Somerset County Council said: “We’re proud to see the work that’s going on here held up as an example for others.

“The success is down to close work between all sorts of partners in the voluntary sector,  community groups and in health – this isn’t something that any one organization can do on its own.

“It’s about encouraging everyone to really concentrate on the individual. Everyone’s needs are different, and so are the best ways to meet those needs. The challenge is to do that creatively, flexibility and wherever possible tapping into support that already exists in our fantastic communities.”

The Think Local Act Personal Partnership aims to transform social care, promoting a more personal approach. The full Reimagining Social Care report can be found here: https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/

Central to the Community Connect approach is the growing network of Talking Cafes. There are now 13 taking place regularly across the county, bringing together people from care, health, district councils, community and voluntary groups to see how they can help anyone who feels like they, or someone they know, need it.

Village agents are also on hand, armed with a wealth of knowledge about the local area, what’s going on and what people can get involved with.

You can now find Talking Cafes taking place in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Cheddar, Dulverton, Langport, Minehead, Porlock, Street, Taunton, Wiveliscombe, Williton and Yeovil.

For more information visit www.somersetrcc.org.uk/talkingcafe