A lot of the work Volunteer Cornwall undertakes revolves around the health and care agenda. And although we do deliver some services ourselves, such as "Welcome Home", much of our work is "behind the scenes" - working with voluntary and public sector colleagues to try and join up some of the gaps in the system between health and care, adults and children or physical and mental health services.
We believe that there is a role for both individuals and communities in a joined-up health and care system and our three "Community Makers" are tasked with trying to make that a reality.
Recently, the respected health think-tank, "The Kings Fund", has produced a couple of reports recently which support the work we have been doing:
- One focuses on the untapped potential of volunteers in general practice
- Another looks at the role of communities in improving health
One of our Senior Managers has been taking part in workshops in London to look at strengthening the involvement of the voluntary sector in the transformation agenda and we are now starting to look at how we turn that from theory to practice on the ground.
Our Chief Executive has also been in London on a 2-day NHS event looking at large-scale change and "system leadership" (the challenge is not one for the public sector alone!)
We are hoping to test some of our thinking in the Helston area in the spring and will be arranging meetings with public and voluntary sector colleagues shortly to outline our thinking and invite them to get involved. Amongst our ideas are social prescribing and active signposting schemes, shared volunteers, genuine collaboration and engaging other groups to act as the 'eyes & ears' of GPs and community health services.