Delivering differently in neighbourhoods

| Helen Sharp

I’m hoping that this model will grow beyond the use of formal volunteering to embrace the all community members because it could become a way of strengthening the entire community.

These three case studies have been created specifically for commissioners to give them an idea of how public services can be delivered in more collaborative ways.

Each case study comes from a different sector which is useful as they could appeal to different commissioners from across Local Authority and health. The main theme for all three is their recognition of the benefits of strengthening support at the local neighbourhood level to prevent the need for services upstream. They go beyond traditional models of practitioner-led early help and to varying degrees, include co-production, co-design, collaboration and asset based approaches.

Here is a short summary of each one and I’ve pulled out the qualities they showcase best, so that you can pick and choose which one you might use as a case study for your own work:

This is a great example of developing the interface between asset based community development and public sector services using a hub model. Two types of hub have been created, the collaborative hub which brings all the practitioners together and the neighbourhood hub which brings the practitioners and street level together integrating statutory, voluntary sector, community development workers and connectors and citizens in one space.

This project is for everyone, across the life course and is a place-based model which focuses on connecting residents and practitioners to increase the support available on the neighbourhood level.

P.S. there’s a great theory of change on page 36 which reminds me of a customer journey map. It’s been costed and everything!

This one is a good example of co-design to create support opportunities for survivors of domestic abuse who may be socially isolated. A core group of survivors worked with the voluntary sector and created a handbook and a neighbourhood level peer support drop in.

This was the only case study which really highlighted the contribution made by the service users which not only included their time, experience and knowledge but also their editing, writing and artistic skills needed to develop the handbook.

It also suggests some interesting learning such as not making assumptions about how people feel, be prepared to go at the citizens’ pace, and that survivors gain a lot of support through being with people who have had similar experiences. This is something that has echoed with me throughout my experiences of collaboration.

This one describes how the Council worked collaboratively with a wide range of small voluntary sector agencies to create a pool of volunteers (good neighbours) who would be able to support older people at home and in their local area.

I’m hoping that this model will grow beyond the use of formal volunteering to embrace the all community members because it could become a way of strengthening the entire community. One of the reasons I am hopeful is that, during the project, they recognised the strength of a community assets approach and many of the people who were first identified as needing help, have subsequently become ‘good neighbours’.

Something else to note was the use of an outcomes framework rather than a set of process targets, enabling the providers to be flexible and adaptive and make those all-important mistakes!

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