Mobilise community resources
A new approach to supporting communities and people – you are Essex’s most valuable assets not liabilities! This is not an excuse to make communities deliver care ‘on the cheap’. Instead it is an acknowledgement that, alongside occasions when voluntarism can and should play a greater role, there will also be instances where a local approach and local understanding of grass-roots needs can deliver best care, best support, best value, and greater independence for each of us.
To support this recommendation, we call for:
- Help for local schemes, providing support and care on a voluntary basis – this can include some seed funding, training and information about best practice drawn from other places.
- The creation of an Essex-wide organisation embracing paid staff and volunteers so that every household has a team or individual charged with identifying early signs of difficulty, combining concepts such as Health Champions, Neighbourhood Watch, Village Agents, and the current Essex Fire Prevention initiative.
- The introduction of a new award scheme for the most vibrant communities in Essex.
- Public agencies that commission services to agree longer-term contracts than happen now – one year for pilot projects, but three to five years for services that are proven and essential, subject to annual appraisal of performance. Equally these public agencies should be encouraged to favour consortia of providers to encourage integration of services and better value.
- Employers to support staff volunteering.