New Dementia Community Grants Programme

Somerset County Council is changing the way it provides day time activities for people with memory loss or dementia. They have announced a community grants programme, which is now open for applications. The initiative is aimed at supporting the development of services for people in Somerset with memory loss or dementia, over the next five years.

Grants will usually be for £250 to £10,000 per year.

The grants will:

  • Directly benefit residents of Somerset and grass roots community groups and organisations.
  • Support an increase in people with memory problems or dementia using community groups and services, even when their condition worsens and extra support is required.
  • Fund activities and services that support both Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care clients who use Direct Payments to pay for their support, and people who pay for themselves.
  • Fund projects that become self-sufficient and sustainable

For further information please view Dementia Community Grant Outline and Dementia Community Grant EOI template

If you wish to have an informal conversation about this grant and what it can fund, please email the Adult and Health Commissioning Team at , and a member of the team will call you back.

Join the Fit For My Future Live Facebook Session

Fit for my Future will be hosting another live session on Thursday 6 December from 7pm – 7.30pm

Visit the Facebook page to join the conversation, it’s an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about Fit for my Future, and hear more about the programme.

If you’re unable to get online during the live session, but have some questions questions, email them to and they will be included in the session.

You can find out more at

Fit For My Future drop-in engagement events

Fit For My Future is holding a series of drop in events, to engage with the local community and gather views on health and care services in Somerset.

Anybody who would like to share their experience of local health and care services, and find out more about the Fit For My Future Programme is welcome to attend.

Dates, times and locations are:

  • Berrow Village Hall, Burnham-on-Sea, Monday 15th October, 3pm – 6.30pm
  • Great Bow Wharf, Langport, Wednesday 17th October, 10am- 2pm
  • Basalm Centre, Wincanton, Tuesday 23rd October, 10am- 2pm
  • Axbridge Town Hall, Axbridge, Thursday 25th October, 10am- 2pm
  • Hub Nub, Frome, Monday 29th of October, 10am- 2pm
  • The Arts Centre, Wellington, Tuesday 30th October , 12.30pm -4.30pm
  • Ilminster Town Hall, Ilminster, Wednesday 31st October, 3.30pm – 7pm
  • Victoria Park Community Centre, Bridgwater, Tuesday 6th November, 10am- 2pm
  • HenHayes, Crewkerne, Wednesday 7th November, 4pm – 7pm
  • The Guildhall, Chard, Monday 12th November, 12.00pm – 4pm
  • Abermarle Centre, Taunton, Wednesday 14th November, 10am- 2pm
  • Shape Mendip, Shepton Mallet, Thursday 15th November, 10am- 2pm
  • Brushford Parish Hall, Dulverton, Tuesday 20th November, 3.30pm – 7.00pm
  • Glastonbury Town Hall, Glastonbury, Wednesday 21st November, 10am- 2pm
  • The Hub, Minehead, Monday 26th November, 1.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Abbey Manor Community Centre, Yeovil, Tuesday 27th November, 1.30pm – 5.30pm

If you can’t make one of these events, visit to find out about the ways you can get involved.

Celebrating involvement in healthcare community grants 2018 – apply now!

NHS England are on the lookout for VCSE groups that have done some amazing patient, service-user or carer involvement work that’s improved healthcare services.

They will be awarding grants of up to £2,500 to a number of projects that showcase good practice around patient and citizen involvement in healthcare.

The  grants will be awarded to organisations that can tell the story of their patient and citizen involvement project. Using the funding, they will share what worked, how they involved patients and citizens and what impact involvement had on services. Organisations should be able to tell their story in a creative, appealing and accessible way which can include producing films, photo or audio books, leaflets and posters, graphics or comics.

NHS England knows that patient groups, VSCE organisations and a diverse range of community groups all over England are involved in shaping and improving healthcare services. It wants to encourage the promotion of learning and sharing of good practice by making funds available to groups to highlight and share their work with others.

The grants can only be awarded to a voluntary organisation. Please ensure you read the community grants guidelines document before you apply, to check that your organisation and project is eligible. If you are eligible, you will need to complete the application form by Thursday 20 September.

2018 Somerset Activity and Sport Awards

Nominations are now open for SASP‘s 2018 Somerset Activity and Sport Awards.

The awards will celebrate the achievements and successes of outstanding athletes, inspirational volunteers, great coaches, community clubs and organisations from across Somerset.

Is there somebody within your organisation who has made a fantastic contribution to community sport and physical activity? Say a big thank you by nominating them for one of the following awards:

  • Young Coach of the Year
  • Children’s Coach of the Year
  • Participation Coach of the Year
  • Young Volunteer of the Year
  • Club Volunteer of the Year
  • Club of the Year
  • Get Somerset Active
  • Contribution to School or College Sport
  • Active Workplace
  • This Girl Can
  • Sports Performer of the Year

The awards evening for the finalists will be held on Friday 19th October at Somerset County Cricket Club.

You can find out more and submit a nomination here. The deadline for nominations is Friday 31st August. 

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.

SASP launch new Active Spaces project

Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) are excited to announce the launch of the new Active Spaces project in Sedgemoor and West Somerset. Active Spaces is a community-based activity project which offers local communities the chance to get out and get active in their local area.

SASP believes communities in the Sedgemoor and West Somerset areas will benefit from high quality exercise sessions delivered by experienced, well qualified and insured instructors. This will be provided at low cost and gives communities opportunities to come together socially whilst utilising their local open spaces. Sessions will include: family activities, fit for your life general fitness sessions, running groups and walking football. All details on location of sessions, costs and instructors, can be found on the fresh new website and Facebook page ‘ActivespacesSASP’.

This project was created to aid in combating inactivity levels in Somerset, but also to encourage families and friends to take part in fun social activity together. One in five adults in Somerset do less than 30 minutes of activity per week, and one third of adults in Somerset do less than 150 minutes of activity each week. The link between physical activity and good health is proven, and national statistics now show that 4 in 5 young people are not active enough to maintain good health.

The Active Spaces project is set to launch in August 2018 and will be starting in the following areas: Williton Memorial Ground, Watchet Memorial Ground, Nether Stowey Recreation Ground, Stogursey Victory Hall Playing fields and Manor Park in Burnham on Sea. The project is funded through EDF and the Hinkley point CIM fund and will also be working with several local partners including Sedgemoor District Council.

Gareth John, Active Spaces Project Lead says, ‘Active Spaces will offer people exciting opportunities in their local areas to move more, get active and reap the physical and emotional benefits of physical activity. We are looking forward to launching this in August’.

If you require any further information regarding the project please contact Gareth John on the following, phone 01823 653990 and email

Update – Somerset Stronger Communities, Social Prescribing Project

Social prescribing, as described by the NHS and others, links people with health problems into practical and emotional support in communities and the voluntary sector. Overall it seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way and support individuals to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing. This can be done in different ways but many approaches involve link workers or ‘connectors’ (who work with people to identify which practical, emotional and community support can best help them achieve their goals) as well as ‘builders’ (who work within communities to ensure relevant support is available locally to meet people’s needs).

In parts of Somerset there are already some successful social prescribing projects which have improved people’s lives and are contributing to the development of stronger communities. Building on this a cross-sector group of partners [1] have been working together over the past year to explore how to spread more of this activity equitably across the county.

Research and development was supported by grants from the Life Chances Fund and South West Academic Health Science Network alongside ongoing in-kind investment from the Richmond Group of Charities, the Somerset Sustainability and Transformation Plan and Somerset Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Strategic Forum.

Research and development took place over the period Oct 2017 to April 2018. There were three strands of work in this Development Phase:

  • A community research exercise, which focused on exploring the issues that are important to people, professionals and communities in the design process. The process used local community researchers and included a GP survey. Over 200 people and professionals were involved in the process.
  • An evidence review conducted by the University of West England, which focused on understanding evidence and best practice in a number of social prescribing approaches across Somerset and Devon, and further afield.
  • Data modelling and financial feasibility testing, conducted by OPM (now Traverse), which brought together the findings from the first two strands of work with data modelling and financial feasibility testing of different approaches, including an outcomes based contract backed by social investors.

The research found that social prescribing is an important element of the health and care system in Somerset. It creates good outcomes for people that reduce dependence on statutory services and there is evidence to support the spread of the approach sustainably and equitably across Somerset. It confirmed that there is good practice that can be built on if certain conditions are in place, notably investment in community development and infrastructure, and professionals are engaged. The research also concluded that taking a one-size fits all approach to social prescribing is not appropriate for Somerset and that locally owned and delivered models need to be developed which include the five key principles of ‘good’ social prescribing:

  • Person-centred – with conversations focused on, and connections made to community based solutions that are based on a person’s strengths and personal goals;
  • Community-building – with attention given to building on existing assets, generating social capital and local responses to fill gaps with ‘good stuff we know works’;
  • Collaborative working and communication within and between sectors – with skilled link workers that take an asset-based strength building approach to connect people into personal and community networks as well as the practical and emotional support within communities and the voluntary sector;
  • Buy-in from referring professionals; and
  • Sustainable funding (for both infrastructure and provision of ‘good stuff’ in communities where needed.)

The potential for using an outcomes-based contract backed by social investors to develop and fund social prescribing was explored.

While this approach to financing was judged to be feasible, commissioners felt the work would be better mainstreamed and pursued through the new Somerset Health and Care Strategy. On this basis, the project partners did not apply to the next stage of the Life Chances Fund.

The work undertaken since the initial grant was made will now feed into, and help drive, Somerset’s new Health and Social Care strategy, Fit for My Future, going forward. With the remaining grant funding, work will continue with the local voluntary and community sector to explore the gaps and opportunities for enabling local development and delivery of social prescribing in the areas where it does not yet exist. At the same time, work will be undertaken through the strategy to develop a county-wide framework to ensure equity of access, quality assurance and a shared approach to evaluation and monitoring. This Design Phase will continue throughout the rest of 2018.

In the Design Phase two tracks of work are now underway. First through the Health and Care Strategy, which will be going out to public engagement later this year on a set of proposals. Second through more detailed design with citizens, communities, professionals and the voluntary sector to identify what gaps can be filled through greater coordination and where investment is required in community infrastructure, activities and support. The Strategic Forum will be coordinating this aspect of the work with the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector in partnership with the Richmond Group. An update outlining next steps and ways to be involved will be given at the next meeting of the Strategic Forum.

The aim is that this work will be completed in line with the Health and Care Strategy timeline. High-level proposals will be submitted in July 2018, followed by more detailed design to develop and strengthen the approach for spreading social prescribing equitably and sustainably in 2019.

[1] with representatives from  the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board, the Richmond Group of Charities, the Somerset Sustainability and Transformation Plan, Somerset Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Strategic Forum, the South West Academic Heath Science Network, the Somerset Activity Sports Partnership, the Clinical Commissioning Group, adult social care, public health and communities department of Somerset County Council

The Carers Gathering 2018

Carers Voice, the influencing body for unpaid carers in Somerset, is holding the 2018 Carers Gathering.

Unpaid carers in Somerset are invited to come along for a cream tea, and find out more about the support on offer from Carers Voice Somerset. It’s also a great opportunity to hear about the new Carers Service, find out about other organisations that could help, and meet other carers.

It’s being held on Wednesday 26th September, from 10am to 3pm at Cheddon Fitzpaine Memorial Hall  (TA2 8JY)

Please RSVP to or 07866 785438

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.