Community Connect Cornwall (CCC) is our far-reaching, ever evolving Community Social Prescribing (CSP) project. It’s an innovative approach to sustainable community development and general well-being. We work with GP surgeries, schools, councils and local businesses to find new ways to help local people overcome the challenges they face. Originally, CCC was created to reduce pressure on the Coastal Primary Care Network (PCN) and A&E departments.
Assets for Success is incorporated into CCC, but with a greater focus on well-being. We call this approach ‘iBelong’, because at the heart of the project is the need to connect people to their communities to reduce loneliness, tap into potential and build resilient, bright futures for all.
Find out more about our CCC Team here.
Community Social Prescribing (CSP) is a National NHS Programme with a ‘light touch’ approach. The programme is implemented by different organisations across the country. Our project, Community Connect Cornwall, works with GP surgeries in the Cornwall coastal cluster (sorry for the alliteration overload) and Truro PCN. The GP’s refer patients to our wonderful Community Navigator – Sharon – who takes a holistic approach to health and well-being. They focus on what matters in the individual’s life in order to connect them to existing community groups and services that provide the support that they need.
CSP has worked for a wide range of people of all ages juggling different difficulties, including those who:
Have long-term health conditions
Are struggling with bereavement and loss
Suffer from anxiety
Need support with their mental health
Feel lonely or isolated
Suffer from chronic pain
Have complex social needs which impact their well-being
Have financial / benefit issues
Sharon’s approach makes support accessible and positive change sustainable. She collaborates with community groups to find the right support, whilst our Community Connect Cornwall Lead – Nikki – helps develop existing groups and get new ones off the ground. Sharon is currently passing on her infinite wisdom to Libby, who we hope to introduce to you soon. Between them, they have upward spirals down to a T.
But we know what you’re thinking – what if you don’t have the confidence to join a group in your community? What if you’re too far down the downward spiral to change direction without greater input? It takes a lot of courage to go to your GP surgery and ask for help, but we understand that making use of that help is an even bigger step. That’s why we’ve developed Community Connect - On Prescription. On Prescription offers greater support than the ‘light touch’ approach in CSP. This support is given before connecting individuals to community groups, so they’re in a better position to engage.
On Prescription incorporates Assets for Success. Assets helps people realise the value of the skills they already have – boosting confidence and self-esteem. The 12-week coaching programme develops the behaviours and mindset needed to protect well-being, helping prepare people to better utilise help offered through Social Prescribing.
Below are some examples of the community groups we’ve created, connected, or collaborated with through Cornwall Community Connect...
Truro Dementia Friendly:
Cross community group holding events and designing activities to support the City of Truro in becoming dementia friendly. Through conversation and collaboration (our favourites), we’ve explored ways to help people with dementia – and the people who care for them – feel they belong to a community. Kevin runs workshops to help others understand the needs of dementia patients and their carers, and produce accessible, fun, creative materials about how to promote caring, safe spaces throughout Truro.
A dementia friendly approach may sound niche, but we’ve discovered the benefits it has for many, especially as we move out of lockdown.
Believe it or not, you don’t actually need a creative bone in your body to get involved with this. Shallal Sketchbooks focuses on reaching
focuses on reaching those restricted to their own homes due to long term health conditions and limited mobility, even before loneliness experienced by many during the pandemic. Shallal Sketchbooks offers opportunities for people to engage in art activities and develop support networks without opening their front door.
Participants are posted a sketchbook and invited to join the Shallal Sketchbooks community via e-newsletters and social media, alongside weekly telephone contact. Building confidence, building new skills and forging meaningful social bonds.
Cornwall and Isle of Scilly Suicide Prevention:
Cornwall has one of the highest rates of suicide in England. Working with professional sound artist Justin Wiggan, we’ve engineered sounds in specific locations to calm negative emotions. Sound is used to break up negative thought patterns, helping to influence behaviour and reduce suicide in coastal communities. The project is based across Cornwall and can be adapted to the needs of each local community.
To complement this approach, imagine if are bringing people in communities together to discuss the issue of mental health as a contributory factor in coastal fatalities. We use Assets to develop a common language, shared understanding and safe spaces across Cornwall, enabling conversations that may intervene to save a life.
One such place is The Tea Rooms in Perranporth. Steve, Dick, Midge and Shannon were keen to give back to the community. Imagine if trained the Tea Rooms crew to become Asset Guides, helping them to initiate meaningful conversations with customers every day. Words like “warm”, “welcoming” and “friendly” started to pop up all over their Trip Advisor, boosting their business and creating a local space where people feel able to open up.
Our aim is to have trained Asset Guides in every community in spaces of all shapes and sizes. We hope that this will attract a range of people – knitters, fishers and giggers alike – supporting well-being and building resilient communities.
We collaborate with the following surgeries in Cornwall: