Community Connectors Service Our team of Community Connectors provides social prescribing link worker services to Kingston's GP Primary Care Networks. 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 (social prescribing link workers or SPLWs) 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. Through attending 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 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 10 days. Introductions to the service can also be made through the Connected Kingston digital platform. A Community Connector (social prescribing 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 ‘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 The Community Connectors Team The team builds on Staywell's experience of working in the local community for over 75 years. Between them, the Connectors have experience in social work, learning disability, mental health, speech and language therapy, food and nutrition, dementia support, day services and advocacy. Join the team! For more information or to make a referral: Please contact the Staywell Community Connector Service on 020 8942 8256 Email [email protected] or ask at your GP practice 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 06/08/2021.