Information and Advice – Community Connectors

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

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.

What you did?

3 Community Connectors were appointed and operate on a geographic basis (2 on the mainland and 1 on Arran) to raise awareness of the type and range of service available and how to access them.

  • Keep older people and their carers informed and aware of services, groups and activities available to them.
  • To keep older people and their carers up to date with changes to service provision.
  • To direct / signpost older people and their carers to appropriate services, groups and activities.
  • To ensure all partners are aware of the services available.
  • To ensure partners are kept aware of RCOP initiatives.
  • Link with service providers in the Local Authority, Health Services, Third Sector and Private Sector (These links have now been established).
  • Determine and map what services are available to older people and how these services are accessed from all the above partners.
  • This information has now been gathered and input into an Access database has begun which will be made into a North Ayrshire and Arran Service Directory for practitioners. As described in the case study for the Service Directory.
  • Community Connectors have been given geographic locations where they are regularly attending groups for older people such as Lunch Clubs and Elderly Forums. Community Connectors are now attending each Elderly Forum at least 1 in every 4 meetings, the same frequency for Lunch Clubs. Community Connectors will be working closely alongside John McDonald from NAC Community Learning Development when attending the Elderly Forums.
  • Community Connectors been meeting with service providers to raise awareness of the post and service offered.
  • Through the mapping of services a What’s on Guide has been developed for older people and their carers on the Mainland North Ayrshire and on Arran. These are available on hard copy and on the TSI, TACT and ACVS websites.
  • Development of RSCOP Practitioners Forum who meet regularly to discuss services and exchange information.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

Older people are becoming more aware of the services available to them and now have a point of contact to find out information. Practitioners can find out information about service provision for older people and refer them either directly to other services of utilise the Community Connector to provide further information by either direct contact with the Communiuty Connectors or by referring older people to the Community Connectors.

This is increasing independence, socialisation therefore helping the person remain in their homes for longer.

Contacts - to find out more

Jim Nichols,  01770 600611