Award for innovative project
AN innovative project which has helped over 200 lonely and isolated people on Anglesey to make friends and build a support network has won a coveted award.
County Voluntary Council Medrwn Môn only appointed its first Local Asset Coordinators (LACs) last year to work with lonely residents aged 18 and over to support their reintegration into society.
In its first year, more than 200 people were referred to the service by GPs, North Wales Police, social workers, community mental health teams, physiotherapists and third sector organisations.
With new partners including North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service coming on-board, the number of referrals is expected to soar over the next 12 months.
After being nominated by Detective Chief Inspector Helen Douglas of North Wales Police, it has received the Early Intervention Award for Resilience Building in North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones’ annual Community Awards event at Theatr Clwyd in Mold.
Mr Jones said: “The response to this initiative by Medrwn Môn has been quite staggering and shows the extent of the problem of loneliness in our society today.
“Their approach of strengthening individual and community resilience through social interaction resonates with the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act and supports the principles of a public health approach to vulnerability. Prevention is better than cure as they say.
“In its most basic terms, Medrwn Môn ensure that people get the right help at the right time and in the right place. That help has led to a reduction in calls to North Wales Police and in demand on other partners.”
The coordinators identify activities and solutions to help people get involved in community life so they no longer feel excluded or vulnerable and work to create long-term networks of support.
It helps people become more self-reliant to manage their lives more effectively.
Lyndsey Campbell-Williams, Medrwn Môn’s project lead for social prescribing, said: “It’s nice that the Commissioner sees the value in our work, especially in the joint-working approach. It’s very much a team effort. We are making a big difference and we can see it in the results already coming through.
“However, we wouldn’t have got where we are without the support of our partners. The support we have received from the Police in evaluating our services has been a great help and it has definitely lifted our profile.”
The service, receives funding from the Integrated Care Fund from Anglesey County Council and the
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and GP Clusters, and is an alternative to the traditional type of prescriptions offered by GPs or Social Services.
“We have eight Local Asset Coordinators, including two new ones and they go out into the community to see what’s around for people, following referrals from GPs, the police or even from friends and family members,” explained Lyndsey. “People who are lonely or isolated are generally cut off from their communities. Our LACs go out to see them to provide support so that they look to their local neighbourhood for solutions.
“It might be arranging a regular walk with a neighbour rather than engaging in a specific activity. It’s about creating support within the local neighbourhood which is more long-lasting.”
Funding has been recently secured to recruit two family LACs to work with young people under the age of 18.
● Pictured from left, back, Chief Inspector Helen Douglas, North Wales Police; Lyndsey Campbell-Williams, North Wales Police Commissioner Arfon Jones, Bethan Lloyd Jukes, Jay Garden, front, Sheree Ellingworth and Sian Purcell.