Following an extensive consultation and engagement with older people and their families and carers, we recognised the need to better advertise and promote our services, with the aim to support older people to live independently in their own homes when possible, reducing the need for admission to hospital and care homes.
Our community told us that two key questions required answering:
- What support is available to older people and their carers?
- How can older people, their families and carers access this support?
Working together we aimed to find a solution that was useful and effective to people, West Dunbartonshire’s Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Health Social and Care Partnership (HSCP), along with key local partners including Carers of West Dunbartonshire, Lomond and Argyle Clyde Care and Repair, and Shop-Mobility.
The Link Up Initiative aims to get all agencies working well and efficiently together, making it easy for people to get the services they need easily and quickly, answering the questions posed by older people and their carers. Each organisation from the Council to Clydebank Older People’s Forum is integral to the success of the planning and delivery of Link Up; each has committed time and expertise from their field as well as a strong ethos of community participation to ensure delivery and sustainability of LinkUp.
The key objectives of Link Up are to ensure older people and their families:
• have easy access to information that will support them to make informed decisions about their own future
• feel more secure; more cared for, and have access to a better quality of life
• have better access assistance that helps them remain in their own homes
• feel part of a supportive community that understands their needs
• have the opportunity to both influence and participate in future service provision.
LinkUp promotes the independence of the volunteers who remain active and participating in their communities; and for more vulnerable older people who require support, they are able to more quickly access services and are more likely to receive the service that they need at the first time of asking.
All the volunteers, who are older people themselves, have participated in a robust training programme delivered by the CVS and the HSCP to support knowledge and awareness of all the supports and services available within communities. Developing a local intelligence and communication network based on factual information; avoiding community tendency for rumour and hearsay.
A robust Communication Plan was developed and continues to ensure that Link Up is widely promoted through a range of statutory, non-statutory and commercial outlets including GP surgeries, voluntary organisations, local shops, Post Office and supermarkets as well as through existing older people’s fora and community projects through the volunteers themselves. The plan is supported by a range of awareness raising training sessions which continue to be delivered to staff and volunteers. The service is also in line with the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Investors in Volunteering Policy.