Nick has many years of experience at Warwickshire County Council working with communities, voluntary groups and parish councils. He joined Solihull Council as Local Area Coordination manager in July 2016.
Explain your project in a nutshell
My project, Local Area Coordination, is about supporting people to get the most out of life who might need some help to lead the life they want. It’s all about encouraging people to build supportive relationships in the community, with the goal of being active and independent.
What difference will Local Area Coordination make to Solihull residents?
Each Local Area Coordinator will be based in a designated ward; to begin with they will be in Smith’s Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge, Olton, Lyndon, and Shirley East. Residents in these wards will be able to use them as a single point of contact and Local Area Coordinators will help them make better sense of the opportunities available to them. This should mean fewer people feel like they are being passed from service to service.
What difference will it make to health and care professionals?
Local Area Coordination adopts a radically different approach to helping people. It looks at people’s needs broadly and starts by considering what the person can contribute to their community. It considers which steps a person may need to take in order to get the most out of life. This is very different to trying to fit people into services. In the long term, this should reduce the demand of health and care services by establishing long term, community based support.
When will we start to see change?
Local Area Coordination is part of a new Adult Social Care model for the borough. This will be coming into practise from 1 April 2017, however we intend to have our coordinators in post from January 2017. I expect some immediate changes, as the coordinator will create a focal point in the neighbourhood. However I think it will take a couple of years for us to see the full benefits of Local Area Coordination.
What are you most proud of so far?
I’m right at the beginning of my experience with Local Area Coordination. However, elsewhere in the UK it has created some great success stories. It’s helped people in difficult situations to build relationships and become active members of the community. These are the kinds of successes which I hope Local Area Coordination will generate in the Solihull borough.