If we can support 404 people in six months, what can we achieve together in two years?
We are about to find out!
Back in November 2021, Forum Central and Leeds Community Healthcare (LCH) were talking to each other about how the third sector might be able to act as a proxy family for people who live alone and whose family were not close by to support them when they were unwell.
Hospital staff and community healthcare professionals were (and still are, to be honest) under enormous pressure, due to the lockdown backlash and the looming winter months. Many people were in hospital with no reason to stay and getting patients out of hospital and back into their homes was proving challenging for both health and social care services. The question was: “Could the third sector help?”
We quickly started to hatch a plan. Time to Shine was coming to an end and that model of a cohesive programme had worked well – could we replicate it? ‘Test and learn’, but applied with completely different outcomes. It was worth a try and LCH seemed keen.
What could we call it though? So many ideas were bandied about and ‘Enhance’ stuck. The dictionary definition fits: “to further improve the good quality, value or status of somebody/something”. We wanted to enhance the capacity, as well as enhancing the quality of individual lives.
Through a robust application and assessment process, we brought 14 third sector delivery partners into the programme:
- Action for Gipton Elderly
- Age UK Leeds
- Armley Helping Hands
- Association of Blind Asians
- Burmantofts Senior Action
- Care & Repair Leeds
- Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme
- Feel Good Factor
- Health For All
- Leeds Irish Health & Homes
- Moor Allerton Elderly Care
- NET Garforth
- Seacroft Friends & Neighbours
There was a lot of work to do before we could launch, including developing a referral form and pathway, and letting LCH teams know about Enhance and how the support from the delivery partners could help.
We launched in May/June 2022. As we reached the end of that year, Enhance delivery partners had provided support to 404 people across the city – often reaching the most vulnerable. I would call that a success!
Help included making sure people had access to food and medication, that pay-as-you-go energy was topped up, access to benefits and bus passes, ensuring a safe home environment, linking to social activity, support with prescribed exercises and someone to talk to.
Throughout the year all delivery partners fed into the monitoring and evaluation process every quarter, providing case studies and stories about the work – the highs and the lows. On top of this regular process, Dr Sarah Alden conducted an external evaluation. Sarah’s evaluation covers the period June 2022 to March 2023 and is based on quarterly monitoring returns, a two phase questionnaire, and discussions with 15 clients and a range of staff: 22 from delivery partners,15 from Neighbourhood Teams, 3 other LCH staff and 6 from LOPF.
That evaluation report is now available for all to read. The learning outlined will be applied in year two – yes…there is to be a year two! It will start on May 1 2023.
All 14 of the delivery partners from year one will continue to be part of the programme. In true test and learn style, we will be applying what we know works and learning from what has not worked so well, developing as we go.
There will be a new referral form and referral process, a comprehensive mapping of services and new referral sources – all with the aim of further improving the good quality and value – enhancing it, in fact!
Leeds Older People’s Forum wants to say a huge thank you to LCH, not only for their investment but also for their trust and support. And we want to say an even bigger thank you to the delivery partners who stepped up to the plate with their usual passion and dedication, and helped to make the programme work.
Here’s to year two of Enhance!
Read the evaluation of the first year of the Enhance programme:
Enhance Programme Manager