Community Connectors Service Staywell's Community Connector service has been selected by Kingston's new Primary Care Networks to provide link worker services from September 2019. The Community Connector team was established to trial a social prescribing approach with adults living in Kingston and was initially funded through the Kingston Coordinated Care Programme as a one-year pilot from September 2018. This work builds on 10 years of partnership working between Staywell and local GPs. Community Connectors (link workers) help people make positive changes in their lives by linking them to volunteers, activities and voluntary/community groups. What are its aims? To work with referred individuals drawing on their strengths, interests and skills (assets) in order to identify goals to improve the person’s quality of life, health and wellbeing. Initially set up to work people who are frail and/or frail elderly, during the pilot year the team supported adults aged aged between 24 and 99. Through attending monthly GP-based Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, to play a part in the whole system focus on reduction of hospital admissions, episodes of acute care and length of stay in hospitals. This new and free service supports Kingston’s developing social prescribing framework, known as Connected Kingston, which offers a new digital tool (website) and a network of Community Champions. How does it work? Referrals to the pilot service based at Staywell can come from MDT meetings, health and social care professionals, the voluntary and community sector, and from the individual, family and carers themselves, and you should expect to hear back from the service within 5 days. Introductions to the service can also be made through the Connected Kingston digital platform. A Community Connector (link worker) will then contact the person and arrange to meet with them. Having identified any areas of immediate risk, they will spend time with the person finding out what they want to achieve and then typically work with them for a number of weeks, with approximately six interactions. The focus, where possible, is on self-help/support, and self-care and management, enabling people to access and use voluntary and community services and resources wherever possible, as well as maintaining the individual’s independence at home. Individuals are encouraged and supported to engage with services through motivational discussions, escorting a person to a service or programme of activities, researching and introducing other community options etc. Areas of support might include: information about local activities, interest groups and day centres, and arranging support for a person to become involved; talking to the person about debt, benefits and finance, and enabling them to access specialist advice and support in these areas; helping people apply for accessible transport. The service works seamlessly with Staywell's established Community Support Team, and facilitates ease of access to a range of services provided by the 'Outcome 2 Network' of local voluntary groups working in a contractual partnership with Staywell, which aims to foster social connections and resilience, and provide practical support. 'Thank you so much for reaching out to my mother. It has already made a world of difference, and continues to do so.' - Elizabeth Meet the Team The Community Connectors team builds on Staywell's experience of working in the local community for over 70 years. Between them, the Connectors have experience in social work, learning disability, mental health, speech and language therapy, dementia support, and volunteering - as well as a wealth of local knowledge. ‘Thank u, no one has ever helped me ever. I’ve tried and I’ve rung every number, and just ended up with the Samaritans. So THANK U so much.' - Joe Kingston Coordinated Care Programme and Connected Kingston The Kingston Coordinated Care Programme, supported by an alliance of six providers (Kingston GP Chambers, Kingston Hospital, Kingston Council, Staywell, South West London and St. George’s Mental Health Trust, and Your Healthcare CIC) aims to transform current health and social care services for the residents of the Borough of Kingston, so that: People, where possible, can help and manage their own care, health and wellbeing as part of living independently; keeping active and eating well, and also drawing on the wide range of services and options available in the wider community through an approach called social prescribing. In Kingston this approach has been called Connected Kingston. People, when needed, can simply and easily access the right statutory health and social care services at the right time - Kingston Coordinated Care. A number of work areas make up the KCC programme including: workforce development and integration, developing a single point of access, multi-disciplinary team meetings, and integrated IT. For more information or to make a referral: Please contact the Staywell Community Connector Service on 020 8942 8256 Email Marion Caldwell - Community Services Development Manager Laima Kornejeva - Community Connector Administrator To make an introduction via the Connected Kingston website go to: https://www.connectedkingston.uk What is Social Prescribing? Social Prescribing is a process enabling GPs and other healthcare professionals to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a link worker, who will then support and empower them to find and design their own personal solutions i.e. ‘co-produce’ their own ‘social prescription’. This is in order to help people make positive changes in their lives and within their communities, and to improve their health and wellbeing by linking them to volunteers, activities, voluntary and community groups and public services. In turn this helps to reduce the financial burden on the NHS, particularly within primary care. Page last updated 29/10/19.