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Increasing Confidence and Mental Health – Befriending Service to Launch in Medway, May 2019

29-Apr-2019

          

Medway Voluntary Action (MVA) and Carers FIRST (CF) are working in partnership with Medway CCG to pilot innovative approaches to befriending support in Medway.

The purpose of the pilot is to research and devise the most effective befriending solutions for Medway, with the aim of exploring if these could provide the basis of an effective and affordable commissionable service.

The pilot went live in March and will be formally launched to the public in May.

The pilot programme consists of four core elements:

  • A befriending contact point to support referral and evaluation processing
  • Telephone Befriending (covering the whole of Medway)
  • 121 Befriending Support (covering a pilot area around Walderslade and Chatham)
  • Group Befriending (linking to the wealth of existing community activities across Medway)

The pilot programme operates under the following guiding principles:

  • Progression - residents accessing support will be encouraged and supported to nurture their own social connections within their local community – empowering them to move on and even help befriend other local people.
  • Partnership Working – the pilot will connect and communicate with statutory partners, community and voluntary partners and commissioned frontline staff (e.g. wellbeing navigators) to increase effectiveness and efficiencies in order to achieve shared outcomes.
  • Commitment to Testing and Learning – to be open to new ideas/approaches, and willing to test and review them using consistent and quantifiable methods. The result of which will be a strong set of recommendations that can be provided to the CCG.
  • Shared Opportunity and Outcomes – to share the learning from the pilot with the VCS and to seek collaborative working opportunities, following the pilot, based upon this learning.
  • Capitalise on Existing Assets - operating on a principle of accessing existing community and commissioned assets in Medway where possible.
  • Best Practice - utilising learning from successful national befriending models and principles.

What to expect from MVA and CF next

CF has already started to expand their existing telephone befriending service to incorporate non-carer beneficiaries – and they will continue to develop and promote this service further over the coming months.

MVA have appointed a Befriending Programme Officer who will shortly be in touch with local VCS organisations to brief them in more detail about this pilot and its broader aims. They will also formally launch the pilot in May and promote how people can make referrals for support and/or volunteer for the programme.

For more information, you can email MVA at befriending@mva.org.uk, or call on 01634 812 850.

 


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