An Update from the Safer Somerset Partnership

The latest edition of the Somerset Domestic Abuse Newsletter, which contains updates on local and national domestic abuse related matters, is now available to download here.

Somerset Community Connect Website now Live

Connecting you… A new way to plug-in to Somerset’s growing Community Connect movement is now available!

The Somerset Community Connect website is full of information and advice that can help you and the individuals you work with, to make local links that will help make life better. Whether you’re supporting someone who is looking for groups and activities or community transport; struggling with loneliness, financial issues or arthritis; the site provides information that could make all the difference.

It’s a new way to be part of Community Connect, which is all about promoting independence and improving people’s lives by working with our communities – harnessing the skills and expertise of a huge range of organisations and volunteers.

A ‘What’s relevant to me?’ search feature helps individuals to find what they are after, whether it’s for themselves or someone they might know.

Some of the key things you’ll find on the site include:

  • A directory of Micro-Providers – the growing network of small-scale, often single-person, care providers who can help with care at  home.
  • A list of drop-in events being run by a huge range of community and voluntary organisations in your local area
  • A directory of registered home care and care home providers
  • Information about support for carers
  • Help to access equipment through the county’s two Independence and Advice Centres

The team behind the site are keen to further enhance what is available and continuously improve the quality of information they are providing to our communities. Therefore if you have any feedback and ideas for development, please get in touch!

Somerset VCSE Community Safety Forum

On Tuesday 2nd July members of the VCSE community and the public sector in Somerset came together for a Community Safety Forum at Long Sutton Golf Course. More than 50 people attended and heard updates from:

  • Lucy Macready, Somerset County Council – Safer Communities Partnership and Referral Pathways
  • Amy Hurst, Sedgemoor District Council – Serious and Organised Crime including County Lines
  • Any Lloyd, Somerset County Council – One Teams
  • Simon Billington, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) – Rough Sleepers Project

Attendees also had the chance to input into how the VCSE community can engage with the Community Safety agenda across Somerset.

A copy of the presentation slides from the event can be found here.

Physical Activity and Long Term Conditions Campaign Webinar

Public Health England will be launching a major national campaign, led by the Richmond Group of Charities, to inspire people with long-term health conditions to get active. 

The campaign, which will be launched in September, aims to challenge misconceptions around being active with long-term conditions, providing a unified voice and a strong, emotional platform to engage and motivate sustainable behaviour change across all conditions.

There is already some great work happening in this space and the campaign is an opportunity to stimulate further discussion and action, as well as build on or accelerate existing work. As such, a wide range of organisations are encouraged to support and use the campaign.

Interested in finding out more? Watch the Physical Activity and Long Term Conditions Campaign Webinar, which is taking place from 10am to 11am on Thursday 13th June.

Register here.

VCSE Update: Somerset Children’s Trust Board

VCSE representative, Nik Harwood, attended the meeting of the Somerset Children’s Trust on 14th May 2019.

You can read his summary below:

  • Closing statement on Children’s Plan 2016-2019 was shared with achievements and areas for improvement (including those ported into the 2019-2022 plan, which is now published)
  • Theme for forward planning with heavy emphasis on ensuring the voice of child/young person is embedded into all strategic thinking & decision-making: also an indicator about bringing on-the-ground practice closer to strategic thinking
  • Update on Safeguarding Partnership (replacing Safeguarding Children’s Board) from October 2019 – statutory duty for 3 partners: LA, CCG, Police – planning and thinking around how this will work operationally (including dynamics above) in-hand, and proposal to central government by end of  June 2019
  • With now no statutory requirement for Children’s Trust Board and Safeguarding Children’s Board, this is an opportunity to streamline governance and Board level meetings – this discussion is ongoing & aligned with point above
  • Update on child exploitation from working groups & workshops on future shaping & prioritisation (including a captured voice of 2 x YP engaged with Team 8 – YP unable to attend)

An update from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board

The latest newsletter from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board is now available.

This edition includes:

  • News from the SSAB
  • SSAB Annual Conference
  • New Strategic Plan for 2019-2022
  • Mendip House Safeguarding Adult Review in the news
  • Changes to MARAC
  • Get the SSAB Website on your phone or tablet
  • Business Manager Blog
  • Learning Lessons
  • National: ‘Colin’
  • Regional:  Analysis of Safeguarding Adult Reviews in the South West
  • Local:  Sharing systems and best practices in relation to Never Events
  • Care about recruitment
  • Learning from Children’s Services
  • National News and Headlines
  • Training and Development
  • Useful Safeguarding Adults Links

You can read the newsletter here.

The Somerset Plan for Children, Young People and Families

This week, children and young people helped launch a document that will shape the way Somerset County Council and its partners support them over the next three years.

The voices of children and young people have been central to the creation of the Children and Young People’s plan for 2019-22 which outlines the challenges and dangers they face.

Supporting children and young people, keeping them safe and improving their lives, is one of the most important roles the Council and its partners in health and the police undertake.

The plan is there to help them achieve this and highlights issues such as exam stress, difficulties in education, lack of opportunities, bullying, abuse, exploitation, poverty and self-harm and family problems.

Children and young people from across Somerset – many of whom attended today’s launch – took part in a series of work shops and helped draw up the plan and set its priorities.

The plan will inform and focus the efforts of the Council, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset NHS with the aim of improving the lives of children and young people by strengthening families and communities and tackling the numerous challenges they face.

The priorities chosen by children and young people and outlined in the plan covered better health provision and access to affordable activities to support health and wellbeing, support for parents, useful training and social skills, and ensuring schools and colleges were safe places.

The Plan’s overall vision is for Somerset’s children and young people to be happy, healthy and preparing for adulthood.

Somerset County Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Julian Wooster said: “The plan is critical for Somerset, it really focusses on the challenges facing families bringing up children.

“It’s so important we provide families with the right level of support to succeed in life and to bring up children so they can participate fully in education and other activities to prepare them for adulthood.”

Sandra Corry, Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the key things we’re doing in health is improving access to mental health services for young people and ensuring help is available at an earlier stage.
“We want to prevent young people possibly ending up in A&E because they have self-harmed.
“We want our GP practices, the Council and Public Health to really wrap services around the child and young person and how we support parents.”

Superintendent of Avon and Somerset Police, Mike Prior added: “This plan is all about giving children and young people the best possible start in life.
“We want everyone in Somerset to grow up safe, secure and looking to the future, able to contribute to society, make the county their home and in turn bring their children up here too.”

You can read the plan in full here

Improving Commissioning through a VCSE Single Point of Contact

The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) model is currently being dicsussed as part of the Richmond Group‘s work, exploring to how to build and improve collaboration between the voluntary sector and public bodies.

We thought it would be useful to share NAVCA‘s report, Improving Commissioning through a VCSE Single Point of Contact (May 17), which explores the SPOC model, how it works, and the value it can bring. 

Read the report here.

VCSE feedback invited on Children and Young People’s Commissioning

Following the VCSE Strategic Forum on 6th March, Rowina Clift-Shanley provided an update on Children and Young People’s commissioning at Somerset County Council. You can view the presentation slides here.

Rowina is particularly keen to seek voluntary sector input into: developing an Early Help offer in Somerset; recruitment of foster carers and stepping stones family lodgings, placement stability for children who become looked after; and addressing the prevalence of NEET young people in Somerset.

If you have have any comments or suggestions you would like to share, please email Rowina at


Updates from the VCSE Strategic Forum- 6th March 2019

The VCSE Stategic Forum Met  on Wednesday 6 March 2019. You can download the presentations here. The key speakers included:

Trudi Grant (Director – Public Health, SCC)

Outlined the key priorities within the Somerset Improving Lives Strategy and the importance of the wider determinants of health. Brought attention to the current work beginning around Integrated Care Systems and the need to bring the VCSE into these discussions at an early stage. Discussion then took place regarding what might a place-based approach look like in Somerset – look out for more discussions to be arranged soon.

Lucy Macready – Safer Communities

Provided an overview of Community Safety work going on in Somerset and keen to explore how the VCSE can get more involved in this agenda.

  • Opportunities around training, funding – linking with the VCSE to work up funding bids, will share  here on the VCSE website in future
  • Possibility to have VCSE representation on Safer Somerset Partnership board. Will go through VCSE Advocate process to be coordinated by Alison Baker
  • Recommended that further information and / or discussion needed to understand referral gateways linked to safeguarding and anti-social behaviour. Michael Hammond also reminded groups about the Resolving Professional Differences Policy.

Healthwatch Somerset

Brought their Somerset Priorities 2019/20 to the forum for comment. Also raised awareness of their Campervan and comments tour around Somerset to get peoples views on health and social care. Find out more including dates here.


Kevin O’Donnell provided an overview of the journey so far for PROMISEworks and the challenges they have faced. Further information about PROMISEworks is available here.

Proposed Merger between Somerset Partnership and Taunton and Somerset NHS FTs

Karen Prosser provided an update on the proposed merger and keen to explore how can work more closely with partners to provide person-centred, joined-up care closer to home and out of hospital.  Asked for interested VCSE organisations to contact her

Somerset Youth Provision update – Nik Harwood provided an update on recent discussions regarding youth provision and advised that an online survey has been created for youth groups to help establish an up to date picture of how groups are faring following the recent cuts to County services. Further information here.

State of the Sector Survey – Was last undertaken in 2016 (report available here) and planning to repeat in the Autumn 2019 Richmond Group update – Aimie Cole provided an update on developments and advised that all the learning and case studies are being added to the website.

Save the date! The VCSE leaders conference will be held on Friday 21 June 2019 at Monks Yard. More details coming soon.