Praise for care service

A COMMUNITY scheme that aims to help people live more independently has won the backing of civic chiefs.

Connected Care was launched in the Owton area of Hartlepool in 2008 with the intention of using “navigators” as a first point of contact for residents with health and social care problems.

The service, which aims to keep people out of hospital or, if they have just left, to keep them at home, also links people to specialist help.

The model has been the subject of an investigation by Hartlepool Borough Council’s health scrutiny forum.

It has been such a success that it could be rolled out in the north and central areas of town over the next two years in a £680,0000 scheme.

Details of where the services will be based are yet to be confirmed and the investigation recommended that a strategy is devised to identify the areas that would benefit most.

Members of the council’s cabinet committee will meet next week to discuss the findings.

A report by health scrutiny chairman, Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, said: “The Connected Care service has made a major impact on the lives of the people of Owton Manor, ensuring that they are more empowered members of their local community.”

The investigation also found:

l There is support within organisations involved in Connected Care to see the service rolled out;

l That care needs to be taken to ensure there is no duplication of other schemes in communities;

l That a “one-size-fits-all” model would not work and that other schemes must take into account the individual needs of specific communities.

Other services offered by Connected Care include a magazine which goes to every home in the ward, a handy person repair service, out reach sessions and a benefits and welfare advice service.

There is also a partnership with the Accent Foundation Trust to refurbish flats and support vulnerable young people with their tenancies and a Supported Access to Independent Living Service (SAILS) which supports vulnerable older people.

Connected Care, which is embedded in Manor Residents’ Association, in Kilmarnock Road, is a partnership between residents, ward councillors and community associations.

The service is funded by the council, PCT and other sources drawn in by a community interest company, Who Cares (NE).

The cabinet committee is due to meet on Monday, July 4, at the Civic Centre at 9.15am.