Innovations in health and social care - Grapevine Connecting for Good movement

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Organisation

Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire - Connecting For Good movement. Grapevine helps all kinds of people experiencing isolation, poverty and disadvantage to build better lives. It does this by offering practical guidance, advocacy and support centred around the person.

What is the problem this innovation solves?

Frustrated by the ineffectiveness of traditional service models and the reduction in public services we’ve searched for new solutions that unlock the abundant pre-existing resources in communities and solve problems for good. Social isolation is the root cause of many of the problems affecting people with learning disabilities - leaving them open to harassment, cruelty, abuse and crisis intervention or service dependency.

Solution

Our social movement approach transcends the model that says every problem needs another project and instead puts the emphasis on unlocking people’s capabilities to help themselves and those around them. The Connecting for Good (CfG) movement creates multiple isolation tackling initiatives led by hundreds of Coventry people in a way that is emphatically ‘bottom up’ and enables them to sustain each one.

Evidence base

We’ve been using social movement inspired approaches since 2015 when our local Public Health Dept funded our Good to Go (GtG), a people-driven collection of initiatives tackling physical inactivity among disabled people and those with long-term conditions. GtG focused on local people’s skills, energy and potential. Its evaluation found it generated wildly more resource and outcomes than expected. 

We know it works because of GtG’s success where 1,467 participants experienced “extensive personal physical and mental health benefits – both direct and indirect” (Re:valuation of Grapevine 2017).

Expected impact

CfG has the potential to benefit at least 1,500 people with learning disabilities and a further 1,500 other people experiencing isolation. We will place no limits on who takes part or benefits. This will make CfG a richer and more sustainable resource for its most vulnerable members and means beneficiaries will also include untargeted participants. They will likely include job seekers, recent arrivals, new parents, older people, people with mental health issues, or those experiencing long term health conditions.

Some participants will not be isolated. And through taking part they never will be. Or should they become at risk then they will have stronger networks to help them. Being involved is protective. Everyone benefits. Everyone contributes. 

When we put people in the lead of GtG the movement’s emergent and dynamic nature made its expected outcomes only part of the story. With CfG we expect multiple direct, indirect, intended and unintended outcomes that will suit a developmental tracking approach best.

Stage/spread

Early stage in Coventry but building out from a 3 year track record.

What would councils/health organisations/local areas need to do or have in place to enable it to happen?

It requires a radically different approach to commissioning which is non-prescriptive and trust based building on the work of Collaborate CIC and Newcastle University. Putting people in the lead of creating movements for change that can solve complex social problems requires different funding relationships than those for services and projects. Big Lottery is leading the way on how funders can change.

What would kill it?

Prescriptive linear commissioning for inputs, outputs and outcomes.

Where to go for more information?

Grapevine growing lives and communities website