Your Support Your Choice - Blackburn with Darwen Council

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Project description

The initial phase of Your Support Your Choice (YSYC) started in February 2013 with the refurbishment of a walk-in health and social care information centre in Blackburn. YSYC is a partnership between Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council, Lancashire Mind, a local charitable organisation called Care Network and Healthwatch. The service, can be contacted by phone or email, supplies health and social care information and advice, signposting, access to peer support and volunteers and advocacy. YSYC plays an integral role in the delivery of personalisation, Your Call and other community focused initiatives. The next phase of YSYC will start in October 2013 when it rolls out from the central hub to at least six neighbourhood venues.

Who is the service for?

Anyone over 18 years of age living in the borough can contact YSYC. The information provided will be relevant for citizens of all ages and their families who need assistance to remain independent within their local community.

Intended outcomes

The YSYC Service will provide information and advice on health and social care, as well as links to a range of community based services and support. It will cater for citizens of all ages and their families who need assistance to remain independent within their local community.

The YSYC service will support adults to live independently by helping them to access a wide range of quality affordable social opportunities e.g. luncheon clubs, social activities as well as to make more informed choices about helping themselves without the need for health and social care services. YSYC will also minimise social exclusion by promoting local links and schemes. YSYC will play an integral role in the delivery of the Personalisation, Think Family, Your Call, Healthwatch and other community focused initiatives.

Why is the service being developed?

There is an increasing emphasis on public services to find ways to support people to live in the community, to maximise independence and to give individuals choice and control over the services they receive. There is also an increased emphasis and requirement to engage people in preserving and improving their own health and wellbeing. As well as supporting people to take a more active role in decisions about their health and wellbeing. The adult social care budget absorbs 40% of total council budget yet it is spent on only 3% of the population. It is hoped that YSYC will be part of shifting this spend towards prevention.

Were people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?

There was a multi-agency project board that included advocates from carers' services, older people's services and disability groups. In addition, direct meetings with members from the Older People's Forum, the carers' services, Fifty Plus partnership and CVS were also held.

Has the service met the intended outcomes?

An early success is the formation and funding for a new disability hate crime peer support group which has held its first meeting. The council are also developing new partnerships, including Macmillan Cancer Care, Advocacy Focus, Stonham and Live at Ease (an armed forces veteran support service). These partnerships will help to deliver preventive services in the community through signposting and advice at the same time as building social capital through volunteer support schemes.

Do you have information on costs or savings?

  • Premises refurbishment costs - £70,000
  • Operational costs - £120,000

What were the learning points in setting up this service?

  • It is vital to spend sufficient and quality time on developing partnerships in order to develop and clarify an agreed vision which is shared and understood by all involved
  • It can take some time to confirm the vision, scope, name and branding for the new service
  • The current economic conditions and the lack of capacity in the local voluntary sector must be considered
  • Peer Support Group involvement in the planning and design of the YSYC premises was important

Contact details

Andy McHugh
Service Development Manager, Blackburn with Darwen Council
Phone: 01254 585565