Local Care Partnerships and Third Sector

Sean Tunnicliffe Communications Officer, Leeds Older People’s Forum

The Local Care Partnerships (LCPs) are looking to work with third sector organisations that have local knowledge and are already providing services which can be utilised rather than setting up new schemes.

In doing so they are looking to build on the history of partnership working between Leeds City Council, NHS and third sector staff.

There are few (if any) better examples of this partnership working than the many Neighbourhood Network Schemes (NNS) who provide a lifeline for thousands of older people in Leeds.

Pip Goff, Third Sector and Community Local Care Partnerships (LCP) Development Manager, recently met with Karen Woloszczak who is the Manager at Action for Gipton Elderly and kindly allowed me to tag along to join in the conversation and take some notes.

The reason for me going along was to try and get a sense of how a local third sector organisation and the work it is doing fits in with the philosophy of the Local Care Partnerships.  As Pip said in the meeting “we need to tell people about the wonderful work the third sector is doing and value the brilliant assets.”

Keeping it local

Action for Gipton Elderly (AGE) covers a large area which includes part of Harehills as well as Gipton. The majority of its members are aged 70-80+ and are also neighbours having lived in the area for many years. Gipton has a large pre-war council estate and AGE’s centre is in the middle of this estate.

Karen told us that her remit is to improve the lives of older people in Gipton and that there is something good about being independent adding that there are still funders out there who just want to give you money to spend on providing services to people.

AGE builds relationships with its members and this means they can give them the services they need and which can also help them to retain their independence.  AGE can also provide services for people with high needs, which can take pressure off local statutory health and social care services.

Karen seems to be completely in tune with what AGE members want and need. She told us that members value their independence and don’t want to be patronised or feel they need charity. They are happy to pay for things such as taxis to get them to the AGE Centre.

She spoke about how AGE has lots of connections with local services, businesses and workers such as postal workers and people sometimes contact AGE directly to express concern about neighbours or people living on the estate. This helps the organisation to identify people who may benefit from some of the services they offer.

Special care

AGE used to have a carers group and several of the carers looked after people with memory loss. Karen asked the group what they wanted and the response was that when they had a couple of hours spare they didn’t really want to spend it with other carers talking about caring duties.

As a result AGE set up a special care group where they take the people being cared between 10:00am-2:00pm and this allows the carers to have some time for themselves and to get some respite.

Valuing independence, valuing people

One way AGE helps their members to retain their independence is the use of volunteers & workers to support people who find getting out difficult. Karen told us about Shanice who is a young woman who helps Jack, who is in his 90s and lives in a flat.

Shanice was a volunteer who was referred to AGE by GIPSIL, a third sector organisation which works with children, young people and families in disadvantaged communities in Leeds.

About a year ago Jack had a fall and asked for help and support with hospital appointments. Shanice was assigned to support Jack and she would arrange taxis to get him to hospital appointments and to go shopping. Shanice would also go with Jack to help him and to be there for him. She visited him at home and helped him to get online and showed him how to order things on the internet.

Supporting Jack was as beneficial to Shanice as it was to Jack, so much so that in fact Shanice is now a trainee wellbeing worker at AGE.

The value of partnership

Having worked for Leeds Older People’s Forum for the past 15 years my knowledge of older people’s organisations is greater than that of mental health, learning disabilities and physical and sensory impairment organisations.

I also freely admit that I have something of a bias towards Neighbourhood Networks as I think it is a fantastic model, which is why I jumped at the chance of accompanying Pip and I would like to thank Karen for her time (especially as she didn’t know I was coming).

Karen always talks with great eloquence, passion and belief about her work and the pride she has in what AGE does comes through with great clarity.  This is something that you see and hear a lot in both the third and statutory sectors in Leeds.

Here in Leeds we are fortunate that all sectors work together and with the support of the LCPs it feels like this partnership working could become even better and like the case with Jack and Shanice, benefit everyone involved.

Local Care Partnership

Local Care Partnership is the term adopted in Leeds to describe the model of a joined-up team working to improve health and care delivery to local people, a requirement set out in the NHS Plan. Local Care Partnerships across 19 different Leeds neighbourhoods link closely to the new Primary Care Networks funded by NHS England, bringing valuable partnership input from the Third Sector, Housing and elected councillors alongside Primary Care, other NHS health care services and children and adult social care.