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.

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 shelteredhousingservice@Somerset.gov.uk or 01823 359161.