In respect of Older People a development plan had been produced by the statutory agencies prior to RCOP. This included a proposed focus to improve socialisation and reduce isolation for Older People living in North Ayrshire.
Due to the increasing demands on the Podiatry service within NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the Podiatry service required to re-shape their service delivery to ensure that those with the greatest need get access to adequate resource and evidence based podiatry care.
Within North Ayrshire a broad range of service provision exists and is delivered through the 4 partner agencies (NAC, NHS A&A, third sector and independent sector). It was recognised that the scope, extent and how to access the services was not generally known by prospective service users, nor among the partners themselves. It was recognised that there was a need for Community Connectors to map, promote and share knowledge of services available to older people and their carers and amongst professional teams.
People were telling us how they enjoyed coming together over a meal but either could not get out on their own (mobility factor), could not afford to visit a café or restaurant (income / poverty factor), and did not want to feel they were the recipients of ‘charity’ (independence and dignity factor). People were clear they did not want a solely ‘old peoples lunch’ at a set time and where they could not meet and share with anyone, whatever age.
So, we needed flexible times – an open café approach; lunch or soup and sandwiches but also social activity; transport to enable access for those who could not get out on their own; accessible premises; and a huge amount of volunteer support coupled with older people themselves to shape the service they wanted.
This, then was to address social isolation, poor nutrition, building peer networks, and supporting independence.