Somerset Mental Health Stakeholder Engagement Forum

Bookings are now open for the Somerset Mental Health Stakeholder Engagement Forum.

The forum is keen to hear from a wide range of people with an interest in local mental health services.

The theme for this meeting is ‘Fit For My Future’.

Fit for my Future” is a developing strategy to support the health and wellbeing of all the people in Somerset, by changing the way health and social care services are commissioned. It is being delivered by delivered by Somerset County Council, Somerset CGG, and other major health care providers. They are seeking views on the Case For Change, and their ideas so far.

Also on the agenda is SWEDA on the support they offer, Laughter Therapy, and the internationally recognised LEAP programme.

The Somerset Mental Health Stakeholder Engagement Forum is being held on Friday 14th December, from 10:30am to 1pm at SWEDA, Shepton Mallet.

You can find out more and book a space here.

Have your say: proposed changes to the County Council’s support and services for children and their families

Somerset County Council have launched an 8 week public consultation on the proposed changes to their support and services for children and their families.

You can have your say completing the online questionnaire, which is available here.

There will also be a series of drop-in  sessions, where you can find out more about the proposed changes and complete a hard copy of the questionnaire.

Dates, times and locations are:

Tuesday 13th November, Glastonbury Library, 1 Orchard Court, BA6 9JB, 10am to 6pm

Wednesday 14th November, The Key Centre, Feltham Lane, Frome, BA11 5AJ, 10am to 12pm

Wednesday 14th November, Frome Library, Justice Lane, BA11 1BE, 10am to 6pm, 10am to 6pm

Monday 19th November, The Hub, Hopcott Road, Minehead, TA24 6DJ, 10am to 6pm

Thursday 22nd November, Taunton Library, (Wellbeing Zone), Paul Street, TA1 3XZ, 10am to 6pm

Wednesday 28th November, Victoria Park Community Centre, Victoria Park Drive, Bridgwater, TA6 7AS, 10am to 6pm

Tuesday 4th December, Yeovil Methodist Church, Vicarage Walk, Middle Street, BA20 1JZ, 10am to 6pm

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the questionnaire, or to see it in alternative format, such as larger print or translated into a different language, please email or phone 01823 357479.

The closing date for responses to this consultation is 5pm on Monday 31st December 2018.

Supporting LGBT+ Communities in Somerset

The Somerset Equality Officers Group and the Diversity Trust are currently working on identifying what support services need to be developed for the LGBT+ community in Somerset.

They recently held a consultation event to engage with the LGBT+ community on it’s proposals and give attendees the opportunity to provide feedback. The proposals included:

  • The provision of a community venue for LGBT+ organisations to use
  • A Community Development Worker to engage with, and build connections within the LGBT+ community
  • Training for schools, GO surgeries, businesses and public sector organisations to help demystify transgender
  • A Community Engagement Officer to work with existing LGBT communities and improve the voice of the LGBT community within the public sector and wider community

You can read the proposals and a summary of the feedback from the event here.

The LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing – share your views

The VCSE sector is being encouraged to respond t0 The Lives we Want to Lead, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) green paper for adult social care and wellbeing.

The green green paper is only a starting point, the LGA wants to to build momentum for a debate across the country about how to fund the care we want to see in all our communities for adults of all ages, and how our wider care and health system can be better geared towards supporting and improving people’s wellbeing.

The green paper poses a series of consultation questions and the VCSE sector is invited to share its views. Click here to complete the consultation before Wednesday 26th September.

Improving Lives: Have your say on our County’s health and wellbeing priorities

Somerset County Council are inviting residents, organisations and communities to have their say on health and wellbeing priorities in the County. This consultation will inform a joint ‘Improving Lives’ strategy which sets out how all members of the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board will work together over the next ten years to improve the lives of residents.

The Health and Wellbeing Board includes representatives from Somerset County Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, District Councils, NHS England and Healthwatch.

The Board have identified four priorities where they think partnership working could make the biggest difference.

  • A county infrastructure that drives productivity, supports economic prosperity and sustainable public services
  • Safe, vibrant and well-balanced communities, able to enjoy and benefit from the natural environment
  • Fairer life chances and opportunity for all
  • Improved health and wellbeing, and more people living healthy and independent lives for longer

These priorities have been developed taking into account the many different factors that influence the health and wellbeing of our residents and communities, for example; health and care services, housing, education, and community safety.  The priorities also consider the current health and care needs of people in Somerset.

You can read the Draft Strategy, as well as the Joint Strategic Needs Assesment, which sets out the evidence used to develop the Stategy, and complete the online survey here. The survey closes on Friday 17th August 2018.

Charity Commission Consultation: guidance on the risks and challenges of having close relationships with non-charities

The Charity Commission is holding an open consultation on its draft guidance on the risks and challenges of having close relationships with non-charities.

Setting up or maintaining a close relationship with a connected non-charitable organisation can provide benefits to charities by furthering their purposes and making a real difference to beneficiaries, but it can also expose charities to additional, and sometimes significant risks.

The guidance is for charity trustees and covers issues that may arise when charities and non charitable organisations share aims, staff, branding, and funding.

The aim of the consultation is to find out how well the draft guidance covers all the relevant areas, clearly describes the relevant laws, and outlines the issues and risks in a way that trustees find easy to understand and helpful.

The consultation closes on 15th May, and you can take part here.

Shaping the future models for Support in Sheltered Housing in Somerset

Somerset County Council’s contracts for Support in Sheltered Housing schemes is due to end in October 2018. In April, a consultation will be launched to explore the different ways in which the Council could provide these services in future.

The current service
Currently the County Council partially funds Sheltered Housing Providers to help tenants to manage their day to day requirements. This can include assisting with correspondence; helping to pay bills or manage the household budget. They also help to arrange appointments and help to plan shopping or meals. Some people don’t need this support on a regular basis, but may benefit from a visit to check all is well and to see if any help is needed.

The current contract covers about 3,500 sheltered housing tenants in Somerset. However, a much larger number of people have similar needs, but don’t get any support because they own their own homes or live in other types of housing. As funding from the Government is being reduced, the County Council are working to find new ways to provide these services and to make sure they are fair, affordable and available to all eligible people living in Somerset.

Involving and consulting others
The County Council has already started to change the way in which it can help people through “Community Connect”. This has introduced a new way of working, which is being adopted by community, health and social care organisations in Somerset to improve wellbeing, whilst allowing people to continue to live independent lives. This is done by having conversations to understand what people want to achieve to live a good life in their local community, and residents are then given help and guidance in order to achieve this.

The County Council is now in the process of working with housing providers and stakeholders to develop potential ideas for the future model. They will also seek views from both service users and non-service users on what options they would prefer, and will invite suggestions for alternative models. This will then be followed with a consultation in April, asking respondents for their preferred option. The consultation will include a number of drop-in events and workshops, as well survey packs and an online surveys.

Involvement and consultation is a necessary and valuable part of changing, modernising and reviewing how these services are delivered, and no decisions have been made. The consultation will provide the opportunity for service users and partners to feedback on the proposals, and no decisions will be made until the results of the consultation are fully analysed.

The consultation exercise is being undertaken in order to provide existing and potential users of the service, and other stakeholders, the opportunity to have a meaningful input into the development of future commissioning intentions.

For future updates and details on how you can have your say, please contact the Support in Sheltered Housing Project Team. Email or 01823 359161.