Community life, social connections, supportive relationships and having a voice in local decisions are all factors that underpin good health, however inequalities persist and too many people experience the effects of social exclusion or lack social support.
The assets within communities, such as the skills and knowledge, social networks, local groups and community organisations, are building blocks for good health and Turning Point mobilises those assets within our work.
Case study – Bradford Taxi Campaign
Our People’s Parliament is a set of regional groups feeding into a national Parliament which enable individuals we support through our learning disability services to have their say on what is important to them.
The People’s Parliament was established in 2014-15 and the first meeting saw the launch of the new Involvement Charter for Turning Point’s Learning Disability Services. The Involvement Charter has been co-produced by people we support, staff and management across the Learning Disability Services.
In 2014-2015 members of the Bradford People’s Parliament “Step Forward” were heavily involved in a local campaign with People First Keighley & Craven – a Self-Advocacy and Campaigns group for Adults with Learning Disabilities – to raise awareness of taxi firms charging excessive amounts to carry wheelchair passengers, sometimes double the standard fare.
The national Turning Point external affairs team has supported the campaign with expert advice. The campaign called for section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 to be enacted. This act imposes duties on the taxi driver when carrying wheelchair passengers and states that assistance duties should be carried out… without making any additional charges.
The campaign’s petition was distributed across Turning Point and as a result of a number of events one local taxi firm has made a public pledge to charge no extra to carry a wheel chair.
Case study – Birmingham Community Navigators pilot
In July 2013, Turning Point launched a pilot Community Navigator service which ran for 17 months targeting two particularly deprived neighbourhoods in Birmingham. Commissioned by Birmingham City Council, the pilot aimed to better to connect people to resources in the community promoting wellbeing and independence, thus reducing dependency on statutory services.
The staff team brought together professionals and local people working as paid staff and volunteers, and supported over 1,000 local residents providing signposting and support to engage with services, wellbeing coaching and peer support. In addition the service supported the development of new micro-enterprises and resident led initiates to promote health and well-being.
The pilot’s capacity building activity took a number of forms including: identifying gaps in local provision, supporting local community and voluntary organisations to extend or improve the quality of their provision and helping local people set-up new groups and networks.
Specific examples include:
- training meals on wheels drivers to provide added value by referring vulnerable clients to the navigator service;
- funding additional capacity of a seated exercise programme for older people;
- supporting additional community transport runs by supplying volunteers to help out;
- supporting the set-up of a men’s diabetes support group;
- training volunteers to help people bid for social housing properties;
- helping self-organised social groups for older people get going;
- providing advice with marketing and undertaking DBS checks for members of a local timebank so it could take referrals from the local authority;
- supporting a number of local people to develop business plans for new social care micro-enterprises.