Award for in­no­va­tive pro­ject

Bangor Mail - - Nostalgia -

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.

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