Trust and partners win contract to help voluntary and community groups

An NHS trust and two charities have won a contract to help East Riding’s voluntary and community groups develop projects to improve residents’ health and wellbeing.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and the Smile Foundation were awarded the contract by East Riding of Yorkshire Council following a competitive tender process.

Under the agreement, which could last four years, the Trust and charities will work with GP practices, social care providers and voluntary and community groups to reduce service users’ social isolation and solve their non-medical problems, including those involving benefits and debt.

People in difficulty will be referred to a new GP-based Community Linking and Connector Service, which will meet them face to face, work with them to draw up personal health and wellbeing plans, and help them access appropriate services in their own communities.

Staff will then help service users turn their plans into action, boost their confidence, help them overcome any initial fears and work with them to solve problems which may prevent them accessing the support they need. Wellbeing needs which do not require a medical appointment will also be addressed.

The aim is to introduce the service to all 32 GP practices in the East Riding – and another in Pocklington – following the success of a pilot involving 11 surgeries.

A new East Riding Voluntary and Community Support and Development Service (VCSDS) will help the voluntary and community groups develop their knowledge, improve their skills and services, and grow.

The VCSDS will also administer the groups’ access to financial support from the Improved Better Care Fund, a resource supported by money from health commissioners and local government grants.

John Skidmore, Director of Adults, Health and Customer Service at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “We’re looking forward to working with our partners and service providers to deliver positive outcomes to support East Riding residents and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Michele Moran, Chief Executive of Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted the Council has chosen to put its faith in the Trust and our partners to deliver this exciting new service for the people of East Riding.

“Our fantastic staff, whose dedication and hard work were crucial in securing this contract, are continuing to make every effort to ensure we achieve our goal of delivering a truly outstanding service.”

David Smith, Chief Executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, which has a key role in the Community Linking and Connector Service, said: “I’m really pleased we are part of the team delivering this exciting new work across the whole of the East Riding.

“There are many community groups in our area providing a great service for local people, and the team at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind is looking forward to working closely with these groups and people in the local community to help people to access the support they need locally.”

Andy Barber, Chief Executive of the Smile Foundation, which is heavily involved in the VCSDS, said: “We are delighted to further extend our reach within the East Riding.

“This innovative partnership will see more joined up resources made available to charities and community groups delivering outstanding work in the six localities across the East Riding.”