Breckland Council: Inspiring Communities Programme
This is a £1 million programme to develop a partnership and community-led approach to the prevention of vulnerability within the district.
It is estimated that one in five of the people who go to see their GP are troubled by things that can’t be alleviated by medical treatment. GPs told the council that they spend significant amounts of time dealing with socio-economic factors effecting health such as poor housing, debt, stress, and loneliness. Many people are overwhelmed and can’t reach out to make the connections that could make a difference to their situation. A Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) team has been employed. From July 2021- Nov 2022 the team received and managed over 300 patient referrals.
The Burrell Shop is part of a longer-term sustainable programme to address increasing food poverty for many residents. It supports residents in accessing good quality and affordable food with reduced cost goods.
The food bus is the first in the country. It works on the same principles as the community supermarket. This innovative project visited identified areas of need (using prevalence of free school meals) providing access to subsidised healthy and nutritious food.
The Mental Health Community Partnership brings together Norfolk & Waveney MIND, local rural mental health charity “You Are Not Alone” and the NHS Wellbeing Service. This partnership led to the development of the Inspiring Communities ‘Mindful Towns’ project, which offers free mental health champion training to community organisations and small businesses as part of a drive to recruit 250 Mental Health Champions over 18 months.
The Mental Health Hub collocates MIND mental health support services with Council Customer Service and Housing Teams.
The Youth Advisory Board project offers support to families with young people aged 11 to 18 (or up to 25 for those who have a disability) who are awaiting treatment from, or on a waiting list for, an NHS mental health service; or those not attending school or at risk of not attending school due to their mental health.
The council investing over £100,000 to fund a domestic abuse early help worker to provide a combination of direct support through individually managed caseloads and indirect support through consultancy, advice and mentoring to lead professionals in other agencies. The council has used its partnership to help raise awareness of domestic abuse and the support available to those who have lived experience, through the forging of a partnership with a local football Club.
This project sets a clear tone that the council is there to collectively lead, enable and support a district-wide initiative to help vulnerable residents. The council has looked beyond its own organisational boundaries, to support those who need help the most, in a truly collaborative, innovative, and unique way. With the data from the council’s partners at Feeding Britain, and from the experience of the current membership, between £25 – £30 is saved on the weekly shop for members. With current figures that equates to £2,500 each week going back into of the communities with most financially challenged households.
The collaboration meetings are open to professional partners who provide a relevant service accessible to residents and who can support the group to fulfil its objectives. The collaboration group discusses complex cases that would benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach, or where partners need extra support to provide the correct preventative services for the individual or family concerned. To date the council has had over 40 agencies signed up and has dealt with over 250 referrals.
The Youth Advisory Board ran over 12 months and offered support through activity and skill-based family workshops, online peer support sessions, and one-to-one sessions with mental health professionals. Sessions were held in market towns, as well as online.
Since 2017 the council has been delivering The Silver Social, a project that utilises the Arts to improve the health and wellbeing of older residents in the district.