Community and voluntary groups join health and care teams in north Cumbria

New roles in north Cumbria will enable community and voluntary groups to be more involved in the development and delivery of health and care services.

Third Sector Representatives have been recruited to champion the role these organisations play in the health and wellbeing of local communities.

In 2018 plans were set out to change the way health, care, third sector organisations and communities work together in north Cumbria through the development of eight Integrated Care Communities (ICCs). They aim to provide more joined up health and care services, more care out of hospital and empower people to take control of their health and wellbeing. 

As part of this Clare Edwards started a unique role as Health Partnerships Officer to ensure the third sector is fully involved in these plans and the new Third Sector Representatives will enable this work to progress further.

Clare commented:

“Cumbria has a large and diverse third sector, made up of organisations that play a huge role in the lives of our communities. They range from community groups run by volunteers to large local charities and social enterprises. 

“They are so important to the health and wellbeing of our communities and so it is vital that they are able to work closely with health and care providers. I’m really excited for the new representatives to get started and help us to further develop the work of ICCs in north Cumbria.”

Each ICC will have two Third Sector Representatives who will attend monthly delivery group meetings and support the ICC leadership teams using their knowledge of the sector. They will work act as a link to other third sector groups in their area to seek their views and promote the services they deliver.

The representatives come from a wide range of organisations covering the diversity of Cumbria’s third sector. These include Age UK, Mencap, Cumbria Youth Alliance and a local Rotary club.

Iain Atkinson, British Red Cross Mobility Aids Service Hub Manager and third sector representative for Carlisle Network ICC, explained:

“I think there is a great opportunity for the ICC hubs and third sector to integrate more effectively. Within the third sector there is a lot of support, knowledge and skills and putting channels in place to improve access to this is a great step forward. I’ve attended my first meeting which was so very positive; the team made us feel very welcome and included. It’s an exciting start to a new venture.”

Kerry Harmer, Community Manager for Carlisle Network ICC, added:

“It’s fantastic to be working closer with our third sector and to welcome the new representatives to the team. People’s health and wellbeing is made up of so many different factors and by working with our third sector representatives we can make the most of the many different resources in our communities that are available to help.”

More information about ICCs is available at: http://www.northcumbriahealthandcare.nhs.uk/making-it-happen/integrated-care-communities-iccs/