We work mainly in Cornwall but also across the UK and with international partners. Our small team brings together extensive experience, knowledge and research from multiple disciplines, helping us understand communities from every angle. We take a grassroot level up approach to all our work and pump our funds into delivery, not hierarchy infrastructure. We have a holistic, “skills not pills” mindset and what we call a “socialpsychbio” approach, considering lifestyle, environmental and social factors that help and hinder within the context of each individual community.
The HUB Network, Cornwall
Social Prescribing / Community Navigation
Chronic Pain in Cornwall/Pain Cafés
The HUB Network, Cornwall
HUBs are one of our solutions. We’ve developed three HUBs in Cornish communities. HUBs are safe, welcoming spaces in the heart of communities, where people of all ages come for a chat. HUBs bring together support services: health, social care, financial and careers advice, wellbeing support, and signposting services. We run high-quality activities, workshops, and training to promote engagement, wellbeing, and skill development, including exercise classes, educational workshops, and art and cultural activities. The HUB Network enables shared learning and resources, creating resilient community infrastructures that improve the wider determinants of health and increase enterprise.
The Perranporth HUB was set up to combat loneliness and isolation, and support people to reengage in work, employment, training, and the community. We’ve created a safe space for people of all ages to come and feel part of their community, seek out advice and guidance, get involved in curated activities and develop a range of skills. We have connected with numerous partners and offer an array of educational and inspirational activities to the community. It has been successful in fostering a shared sense of belonging, increasing engagement and enabling self-management. The HUB is becoming more sustainable through the involvement and training of local volunteers.
The Perranwell HUB also combats loneliness and isolation but with a focus on the health of older members of the community. It was set up to relieve pressure on Primary Care Networks in the Perranwell area, providing a community space for older people to seek health support and advice. The Community Matron is a key partner and is present at HUB sessions for 1-2-1 check-ups. This has kept the more vulnerable in society away from GP surgeries, acted as an early warning system for emerging health concerns, and connected the dots between health and social care. Activities and skill building are also key, focusing on supporting debilitating health conditions and fragility. Attendees often become regulars and transport is arranged for them where needed.
The HUB has helped me meet new people, and releive my anxiety.
L, HUB Attendee
Social Prescribing / Community Navigation
Community Social Prescribing is a National NHS Programme with a ‘light touch’ approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The programme is implemented by different organisations across the country.
Imagine If has delivered the Social Prescribing Service for the Coastal Cluster and Truro Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Cornwall for four years. We work closely with the multi-disciplinary teams in each PCN to ensure patients receive support that is holistic, personalised, and empowering.
Imagine If has a unique approach to social prescribing, which we call “Community Navigation”. Helping people navigate life’s challenges with the support of the community. Community Navigation has three key elements:
Signposting: strive to understand the patient holistically to assess need; signpost patients to suitable community support and make appropriate medical referrals.
Coaching: support patients to develop the confidence and resilience to access services and utilise the support on offer fully, motivating them to set goals and break down barriers.
Community Development: spotting the gaps between services; collaborate with local people and groups to fill these gaps and respond to the needs of the local community, with a ‘by the community, for the community’ approach.
We believe it’s important to understand what matters to the patient to support them properly. We also know telling someone to exercise more, for example, isn’t enough. We work with patients improve their awareness, recognise, and celebrate their Assets, and motivate them to engage with their community.
We work with a wide range of people of all ages, who are often facing more than one of the following:
Long-term health condition
Bereavement and loss
Depressed, low mood, anxiety and other difficulties with their mental health
Loneliness and isolation
Complex social needs
Financial / benefit difficulties
Though our work with the Coastal Cluster PCN has come to an end, we continue to support patients in the Truro PCN. We also adopt a Community Navigation approach in our HUB Network, which enables us to reach a greater number of people as well as those who are harder to reach, without the need for a GP appointment. We promise to develop the support available, ensure support is accessible, and make positive change sustainable.
You cannot know just how much having this conversation together today has meant to me. I feel you’re the first person who's really listened and I feel better in myself than I have done for many months.
L, HUB Attendee
Our Cardiac Rehab Coaching Project receives patients from across Cornwall who are recovering from recent myocardial infarction (heart attack). The project aims to support patients and their families through what is often an incredibly traumatic process, with emphasis on the wider determinants of health and wellbeing to improve clinical outcomes.
The project is in its infancy, starting in February 2023 and led and delivered by Development Coach, Anna. Anna uses a combination of social prescribing, coaching and Asset development to guide and support patients, working with multi-disciplinary teams to ensure patients receive the care they need.
Patients referred often present with unaddressed mental health illnesses and complex social circumstances. In many cases, poor coping mechanisms for these may have contributed to a myocardial infarction.
Flexibility and an open-mind enables Anna to take a holistic approach. Meeting with patients weekly, time is taken to understand where the patient is at and what’s important to them. Patients are supported to set meaningful goals, develop strategies to manage emotions, and consider challenges from a solution focused perspective. Together, they work to break down barriers and limiting beliefs, increase motivation and make use of existing support networks.
Self-referral has shown to dramatically increase engagement and the adoption of new habits long-term. Over time, patients build the confidence, self-esteem and resilience needed to take control of their own health and develop better, healthier coping mechanisms. When ready, patients are encouraged to self-refer to community support groups and appropriate professional services.
Working with Cornwall’s Cardiac team, gaps in services are being identified, current practice informed, and early intervention strategies developed.
This service and especially Anna have provided me with a literal lifeline. Over the past two years I repeatedly tried to get support for my various mental health issues to no avail. At my lowest point, rock bottom, I was lucky enough to be referred to imagine if and Anna Hendry after my heart attack at the end of January 2023.
Cardiac Rehab Patient
Chronic Pain Cornwall / Pain Cafés
YOU CAN LEARN TO LIVE WELL WITH PAIN.
Medication isn't the only way to manage persistent pain. Scientific evidence suggests that people with pain can have more rewarding lives if they learn particular skills. Working with world leading expert Dr Frances Cole, the Chronic Pain in Cornwall team are creating a network of Pain Cafés across Cornwall to support you in your journey to a better quality of life.
Chronic pain in Cornwall is a group of people who are passionate about improving the lives of people who live with pain. We comprise of an expert patient with lived experience Sean Jennings, a GP Dr Jim Huddy, Debbie O’Nyons lead for personalised care in Cornwall, Nikki Kelly and Kevin Feaviour of Imagine If community connect and Dr Keith Mitchell pain consultant at Royal Cornwall Hospital.
After spending a few years educating GPs about the dangers of high dose opioid prescribing the CPIC team are now working to raise awareness and availability of non-medical strategies for people with pain.
Right now we are training two or three champions from each of Cornwall’s primary care networks in Dr Frances Cole’s “10 footsteps to living well with pain” which you can access on our home page. Frances is a retired GP who is nationally and internationally renowned for her work in the self management of pain. We are very grateful to her for her experience and generosity.
We are also thankful to the funding from the Queens Nursing Institute, Exeter University and NHS Cornwall without whom this could not happen. This has allowed us to create fantastic digital support to our work with Tango3 Ltd.
We hope for a future in Cornwall where people with pain can easily access support groups near to them and feel less alone and have more fun and activity in their lives.
You can find out more about Pain Cafés near you at pain.cafe
I’m 62 years old from Cornwall, and a former mechanical engineer. When I was 32 I had what I thought was a routine hernia operation. Unfortunately from that day I have suffered chronic pain and prescribed ever Increasing opioids, gabapentin and antidepressants, for the next 25 years. I am now 5 years medication free thanks to distraction and mindfulness techniques along with exercise/movement to manage my pain. I have used the last 5 years to tell my story to clinicians and patients advocating SKILLS NOT PILLS.
Sean Jennings, Expert Patient
L, HUB Attendee
The Farming Health Hub (FHH) – the first of its kind to be developed in England – is a totally new concept where organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors will join together to provide advice, support and guidance to farming communities in local venues, such as livestock markets and pop up venues rather than farmers and their families having to visit more formal environments.
The FHH is built on a desire to build on Cornwall’s reputation for partnership working to create a new organisation in which private, public and voluntary sector organisations work together to provide confidential advice around Physical Health, Mental Health and Business Health to farmers and their families in their day to day lives.
The aim of the FHH is to offer a range of support within the three main areas. These include general physical health checks, such as eye and hearing tests, diabetes, cholesterol and dental health checks and mental health support, including managing stress, anxiety and depression and coping with rural isolation and loneliness. The FHH will also work with organisations such as Cornwall Young Farmers, Public Health and health partners, and employers to deliver mental health campaigns.
Our partners at Exeter University have undertaken research project: Aging farmers’ health and access to healthcare in the wake of digital service provision. You can read the report in full below:
The Farming Health Hub
Menopause Support Group
We’ve been overwhelmed with the success and turnout to our brand new group, set up to support people experiencing the menopause. The group is held at The Driftwood Spa pub in St. Agnes every 2nd Thursday of the month.
People from all across the Coastal Cluster communities have attended and it's been wonderful to see how it's bringing people together. Guest speakers are invited every month providing guidance and advice on all things Menopause. Including Dr Jo Parry, GP Specialist, Sam Freeman, Relaxation Specialist and Amiee for Yoga & Meditation.
For more info about the group email Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine If has been bringing together diverse groups in communities across East Devon in a project called iBelong. Assets has been approached from a well-being perspective, coaching and facilitating psychologically informed training to empower individuals and inspire action.
This project is Funded by the Devon Sustainability Transformation Partnership, involving Sidmouth, Seaton, Ottery St Mary and the surrounding areas of Honiton and Axminster. We are working with existing groups and services, using Assets to give them the skills and mindset needed to improve well-being in their community.
Through co-creation of resources and the development of clear action plans, we intend to unlock the potential within communities to have everyday well-being conversations, build trusting relationships and make the best use of resources.
Our work and feedback from East Devon communities is captured in a series of short videos found here.
Ibelong, East Devon
I would encourage anybody that’s looking to make a positive change in their community to use iBelong as the foundation for making that happen… The ability to be able to bring people together from different backgrounds to try and achieve great things, it’s very powerful to actually see that in action.
Simon Smith, Youth Worker/Waffle Community House, Axminster