Cwmpas, a leading development agency working for positive change in Wales and across the UK, is working closely with ‘Changemakers’, people from the communities of West Cardiff and North East Pembrokeshire, with the aim of providing them with voice and control over their care; demonstrating that early community care interventions are affordable, viable and sustainable solutions to the care crisis.
Traditionally, the social care system across the majority of Local Authorities hasn’t provided a focus on achieving well-being for people, or on mobilising people’s opinions and capacities. There is a lack of collaboration between relevant agencies and not enough importance placed on prevention or reduction of dependency, while the scope for activities to strengthen community well-being has been ignored.
Cwmpas, through £290k investment from the National Lottery Community Fund is leading a ‘test and learn’ project that is testing two different models of community-led care, aimed at providing a solution to social care issues. Both models will work with ‘Changemakers’, ie people taking part in the project who are demanding change. Engagement with ‘Changemakers’ will highlight how they can help support each other within the community, what outcomes they want to see, what opportunities exist to transform social care in the area, and therefore refocus efforts on well-being and collaboration.
Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE) in Cardiff, is testing the ‘ACE Cares’ urban model and Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) is delivering the ‘Preseli Cares’ rural model, (building on previous investment in Pembrokeshire that delivered community connectors and the Pembrokeshire HUB), with Cwmpas leading both partners. The project is titled ‘Community-led care: Solutions to social care issues’.
Through the National Lottery Community Fund investment, ACE is engaging with the local community to explore what assets and skills the community can bring that would change how social care is delivered.
PAVS is working with people, community groups, statutory partners and private sector businesses to co-produce Preseli Cares. Preseli Cares represents a shift away from traditional care as it will build activities and services required by local communities, driven by local communities.
By taking a co-productive approach, Preseli and ACE Cares will utilise assets and strengths in communities; of people currently accessing services, volunteers and paid and unpaid carers, encouraging them to look at their own skills, putting social value at the heart of social care delivery.
Diane, an unpaid carer working closely with ACE Cares adds: “There is a big gap in the support being provided to unpaid carers in Cardiff and across Wales. This needs to change. More support is needed, such as the creation of community groups where people can come together to learn and help each other, building on each other’s experiences. An example is a new carers group in West Cardiff which I have found really helpful, allowing me to interact with people who understand what it is to be a carer and can relate to my situation. More groups like this will not only help strengthen the wellbeing of unpaid carers themselves but give them greater knowledge to positively impact the people they care for!”
A community member engaging with Preseli Cares says: “In my view, every individual regardless of what issues they present with, or the issues they have, is of inestimable worth as an individual, and you start from there.”
The idea of communities having a voice and control over their care is a completely different approach to how social care is traditionally delivered, namely, how can we keep doing what we do with the staff resources available and how can we meet people’s basic needs?
The traditional system of care leads to poor results in the here and now and gives no attention to the demographic challenges coming down the line such as an ageing population, with people living for longer with complex care needs and dementia which will undoubtedly increase pressure on care services.
Through the ‘Community-led care: Solutions to social care issues’ project the aim is to investigate achieving the best outcomes for people and communities in both the short and longer term. The project is encouraging and supporting communities to create and take advantage of local community resources that benefit people outside of formal care and for people to be participants and contributors to their community. This will result in activities significantly strengthening peoples and communities’ well-being.
Donna Coyle, Project Manager, Co-operative Care and Support at Cwmpas adds: “Through our work with ‘Changemakers’, Cwmpas aims to develop something completely different from the traditional care model, which takes no account of what the community actually wants. We will show that early intervention of community care can prevent the need for more complex statutory care in the future and we also hope to demonstrate that by facilitating and harnessing the strengths and assets in communities they can confidently take ownership of care provision in a sustainable, affordable way that leaves a lasting legacy.
“The building blocks of what we want to achieve are already there; there needs to be implementation of the principles of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The Act puts the promotion of well-being at the centre of care delivery. It provides people being cared for with a voice to help shape their support and decisions affecting their life. It demands early intervention to prevent problems reaching a critical stage and heralds collaboration and strong partnership working between the organisations that support someone’s life.
“But saying is one thing, doing is another.”