Connected Communities

Value of EU Grant to Kent County Council - €748,856

Name of funding programme -  Interreg Channel Programme

Start and end dates - May 2019 to April 2023

This €6.75m project is co-financed with European Regional Development Funding through the Interreg France Channel England Programme. The project will receive €4.63 million in co-financing over four years

Through the Connected Communities initiative, a new Social Prescribing Plus service will be tested in several pilot areas in Kent. This will be delivered by the Public Protection Group which has significant experience working on the front line with residents, in particular vulnerable residents, and within communities, for example tackling anti-social behaviour.

The new role of Community Connector will provide home visits to isolated and vulnerable older residents aged 65 and over, who live independently in their own homes. The Community Connectors will take traditional office-based services out into the community. They will ask what interests and hobbies the individual has and then connect them with relevant events and groups nearby. The aim is to link isolated, vulnerable older people, who might otherwise repeatedly visit their GP through loneliness rather than medical need, with social groups and regular activities in their communities.

The increased social activity should help older and isolated individuals feel more connected and involved with their community, local activities and regular social groups so they are able to make friends and build their resilience.

The project also aims to build strong support networks in the pilot areas so local people such as shop workers, local business owners, neighbour and volunteer groups are more aware of older and isolated people in their community. The aim is that they will identify these individuals and signpost the Community Connector to them and maybe even provide some support or companionship, possibly by organising local events and activities themselves.

This will be achieved through campaigns and training to educate organisations, local groups and individuals to support older people in the pilot areas, so they are better informed and more resilient to potential threats to their independence such as scams, doorstep crime, loneliness and isolation. The aim is that through the support network, vulnerable, older residents get the help they need and are protected against scams, doorstep criminals and fraudsters.

Through cross border collaboration Kent will also share knowledge with and learn from other partners.

UK

  • Suffolk County Council (Lead Partner)
  • East Suffolk Council
  • Medway Council
  • University of Essex.

France

  • Département de L'Eure en Normandie
  • Oise Le Département.

To reduce social isolation amongst vulnerable residents aged 65 and over, and who live in their own homes.

To educate and join up voluntary and charitable organisation who support older people, so they can help keep vulnerable residents safe from scams and doorstep criminals.

To share knowledge and learn from other partners.

Older people living at home in isolation will feel more socially included and will have better contact with their communities.

Older vulnerable people will be better able to recognise, report and protect themselves from scams and doorstep criminals.

A new Social Prescribing operating model will be trialled and tested in Kent pilot localities.

Opportunities for Kent to benefit from shared learning from European partners.