An Angus that Actively Cares

An Angus that actively cares means that people who live and work in Angus and our communities as a whole:

  • Work together
  • Are involved, making a difference
  • Inclusive
  • Compassionate
  • Disability and dementia friendly
  • Suicide aware
  • Active
  • Supporting isolation and loneliness

Angus continues to have high levels of volunteering. Voluntary Action Angus (VAA) are supporting the development of voluntary organisations and volunteering across Angus. The capacity of communities to actively care is a focus of the work.

VAA undertakes a crucial role in delivering on the aspirations of Health and Social Care Integration, locality working and prevention.  We have four full time locality workers who work in partnership with local health practices as link workers and helping people to access health improvement, community involvement, volunteering and access to clubs and groups etc. This forms part of the approach to signposting and social prescribing.

VAA volunteering programme is founded on inclusion, with a particular emphasis on helping young unemployed volunteers into a career in health and social care.  Whilst in its early stages, this has proved successful with an increase in the amount of young people volunteering as part of the national Saltire awards. VAA’s role as the Third Sector Interface (TSI) is important to building new cultures of care and collaborations within the sector and across partnerships.  As part of this we seek to work across sectors to develop a new health and wellbeing network through the TSI Tayside initiative.  This has already been proved successful in Perth and Kinross.

It was proposed by the Third Sector and other partners that a hub type facility would be a much welcomed asset to the community of Angus. To facilitate this VAA purchased The Cross in Forfar. The Cross was officially opened on 8th November 2019. This provides a facility where Third Sector and statutory services can come together and be based within the same building. The main benefit of co-location is to improve the experience of community members. In practice this means that if someone was possibly struggling with their mental health and wellbeing and had an appointment with one of the organisations within the building, it is then much easier to refer the individual on to others where they can be seen and supported promptly. This reduced waiting times for some third sector organisations and provided the best possible service to the community. VAA now co-locate with 15 other organisations who have a permanent base within the premises and many others who use the hot desk facilities. The organisations and services based within the building range from the Glen Isla project to Penumbra, there’s a very large mix of organisations which is a great opportunity for all involved. VAA continues to explore ways in which the Cross, can deliver innovative and much needed collaborative service delivery, available to people at weekends and evenings. This work spans both Angus  HSCP and the Community Planning Partnership(CPP) and importantly provides opportunity from broader dialogues and integrated working within the Third Sector and statutory partners.

Funding and resources: In Partnership with Angus Council VAA has delivered an excellent programme of Funding events based in local communities and more centrally involving national funding providers. Participation in the events and feedback has been excellent and this years programme delivered more outcomes and engagements which has had a positive effect on the partnership I as these events have encouraged Third Sector organisations to look at funding these receive from HSCP with a different slant, it has allowed the TSI to encourage Third Sector to leverage in funds from outside funders rather than looking at our statutory partners.

VAA has worked with Angus HSCP colleague on a range of funding measures: helping to secure strategic investment for the Third sector for agile working and collaboration and a further delivery funds for the Third Sector. This is a significant part of our strategic work to ensure a fairer economic balance. Increased collaborative working and third sector sustainability.

VAA locality worker staff continue to actively  promote  and make  improvements on our Locality Locator which helps ensure people, especially people facing inequalities have access to good quality opportunities within their communities. Feedback on the Locality Locator is excellent with high levels of visits and positive outcomes for people seeking services.

VOLUNTARY ACTION ANGUS

Early conversations with Angus Health and Social Care Partnership allowed Voluntary Action Angus (VAA) to develop a focus on actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 18th March, frontline emergency support mechanisms were developed and implemented through real partnership work between Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), Angus Council’s Communities Team and VAA, which all stemmed from an initiative that was agreed by VAA and Angus HSCP. The ability for all partners to embrace and understand the situation, trust and use each other’s strengths to the benefit of delivering a service for vulnerable members of our community, has been key for this successful initiative and continuous partnership.

Systems were quickly identified and developed to recruit and support volunteers to deliver prescriptions, provide shopping and / or emergency food parcels and befriending to those most in need. VAA had ultimately recruited over 1000 volunteers who were working around the clock to provide support to the communities in which they live. Volunteers were responding to up to 140 requests per day and in total, over the course of 5 months, volunteers supported 4,535 people. VAA pushed to stay true to their values and ensured that not only shielding people would receive support. We wanted to ensure “no one was left behind” which meant we supported any vulnerable member of the community who needed some sort of service. The partnership worked extremely well together and we managed to contact every shielded person who was listed. From of the list, 3,915 received actual support under the above categories.

This immediate flexibility to respond was created through meaningful approaches in working authentically with communities that required barriers to be removed and supporting new forms of multi-disciplinary working between VAA and departments within Angus Council and Angus HSCP. VAA also quickly noticed that the wider third sector had to adapt their ways of delivering services – it was essential that the Third Sector had a role within this multi disciplinary team. We started a new initiative – Angus Connect. With the Third Sector and partner agencies, this brought all organisations together in order to build the capacity of the Third Sector and actively promote the sector to show we are still here supporting the community, even if the work is being carried out slightly differently. We were working, and continue to work with roughly 20 Third Sector organisations.

During this crisis we have been working closer than ever to ensure no one in Angus fell through the gaps and everyone received the support they needed. As a partnership we were, and still are delivering a range of services, but due to the current situation there are three main themes that are continuously arising; food, prescription delivery and loneliness and isolation.

As the numbers of requests increased and Angus Council started to respond with their COVID -19 Access Line, the partnership was strengthened through members of the council’s Justice Team and most recently the Angus Council’s Welfare Rights team joining the staff in frontline delivery. This enabled the team to enhance existing knowledge and experience already gained, and complimented a personal and holistic approach that people need in order to cope in these challenging times. This, as result, continued to create An Angus That Actively Cares.

Our Practice

Situation

All partners were finding it difficult to identify which third sector groups and services were available within each locality. During discussions it was apparent that a lot of service users with low/moderate risk were in receipt of statutory support. Staff undertaking assessments and developing support plans did not know about third sector alternatives and what third sector activity was available in each locality that could support individuals to continue to be more independent and integrate with their communities.

Action taken by Angus HSCP take

Voluntary Action Angus (VAA) created an online database called the locality locator which allows all partners and members of the public to access information about what’s available in the local area. This could be anything from third sector organisations, community groups such as book clubs etc. The online system is available on VAA’s website. It gives individuals the opportunity to search thematically as well as searching by locality. Once the locality locator helps identify opportunities there is also an option to leave feedback. The system works hand in hand with VAA locality workers and social prescribers who are based in each area. Workers also collect information about gaps in community and third sector provision and if there’s a need they will assist with filling this gap. http://www.voluntaryactionangus.org.uk/localitylocator/

Impact

All partners and public members are much more aware of what’s available in regards to services and community groups. The locality locator has grown from strength to strength since its creation. Feedback from partners has been very positive. Once full publicity of the locality locator is complete we hope that the partnership will see a decrease in the amount of individuals at low/moderate risk being awarded care packages

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