Developing and Empowering Resources in Communities (DERiC) is an innovative approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable people of all ages by enhancing the quality of support through community based volunteers.
It is envisaged that this approach will result in reduced demand on social care and health base budgets by utilising social capital that will reduce latent demand on traditional services as well as increase uptake of existing and new services. The communities chosen to initiate this approach were Walderslade and the Hoo Peninsula.
The purpose of this report is to note the progress in Walderslade (WALT) and Hoo Peninsula ( wHoo Cares) and to propose opportunities for WALT and wHoo Cares to build on the current range of support offered.
The Board was advised that Developing and Empowering Resources in Communities (DERiC) was a nationwide Community Interest Company (CIC) working in partnership with Medway Council. Two DERiC CICs had been established in Medway, wHoo Cares on the Hoo peninsular and WALT in Walderslade. The available data and case studies suggested that the service model was having a positive impact but that work is needed to ensure sustainability . Both CICs were working on business plans with the aim to generate further discussions on how to support sustainability in line with priorities set by health and social care as well as other local initiatives.
wHoo Cares had supported 74 people and had 54 active partners were being supported by the programme. 39 people had been trained as volunteers, all of whom lived locally. Support provided included transporting people to local activities and to medical appointments. The average person supported was 75 years old and had a variety of health conditions, although some people supported were significantly younger . People supported had a range of physical and mental health challenges. wHoo assessed each person supported and allocated them a wellbeing score. In one case, the support provided had helped to increase the wellbeing score of an individual from 8% to 56%.
WALT adopted a person centred approach in relation to volunteers and therefore assessed what each volunteer could offer rather than trying to fit them into a pre-determined position. The national average for the number of hours each volunteer provided each month was 11.5 hours. WALT was well above this with some volunteers exceeding this in a week. A total of 1,595 hours of time had been volunteered with there currently being 18 trained volunteers with the number increasing. Volunteers tended to be older people with a number being themselves disabled or on low incomes. Some former clients had become volunteers.
The organisation was able to actively engage with a number of people who would not otherwise be engaged with social services or health services. Up to December 2017 there had been around 100 referrals to WALT from health and social care as well as self referrals from the local community.
A Member of the Board asked how WALT and wHoo Cares ensured compliance with the data protection, how the forthcoming changes in data protection legislation were being addressed and how much interaction took place with other organisations. The Board was advised that the two companies were clear what their obligations were in relation to data protection with staff and volunteers being fully trained. This included working with Medway Council and utilising a safeguarding professional in Adult Social Care. It was agreed that further information would be provided following the meeting.
A Board Member said the work to date had been good and that consideration should be given to rolling the model out across Medway. Another Board Member supported the expansion of DERiC programmes in Medway and noted that a number of local schools, particularly Greenacre had been involved in their support.
Another Member, whilst being supportive of expanding the programme, was concerned that part of the reason for the success of WALT and wHoo Cares lay in its small geographic focus. The Member also asked whether there were any Kent residents using the services provided by WALT and how a handover to partner organisations was made when there was a need for other services to become involved in supporting an individual. The Board was advised that WALT had been involved in a safeguarding referral and in a multi-agency referral in the last four months and that the professionalism of the organisation had been commended by social services and by the Police. It was not uncommon for engagement to take place with several different organisations in order for an individual to be supported effectively. A full handover would take place where the CIC was no longer able to help an individual directly, but in the majority of cases they would continue to be involved as the involvement of other organisations increased.
It was requested that details of how cost and benefit calculations are carried out in relation to DERiC programmes be provided to the Board.
The Board noted the progress of WALT and wHoo Cares to date and considered the further opportunities to build on the range of support offered.