Author: Nick Booth

Social Prescribing

We work with hundreds of voluntary organisations whose efforts help people feel better. It comes in many forms, whether that is improving fitness, finding purpose, finding friendships –  they routinely record the difference through our tools, including the Impact Assessment App.

I just been learning a little more about social prescribing from Locality, as part of their Health and Wellbeing network.

The government (or rather NHS and Public Health England) define social prescribing as referring patients to a link worker who will help them find non-medical ways to improve their life.

Through the Patient Empowerment Project local charity Barca Leeds saw 1400 people in the first two years and now are getting about 100 people referred each month.

This is how things have turned out

and

They sum up their work in a simple way:

“The activities are social – the impact is medical.”

The government is currently looking to encourage the development of social prescribing with partnerships between local charities and local CCG’s or Local authorities:

 
They are looking to provide up to £300k in the first year to create a social prescribing mechanism which involves gp’s referring to link workers who will then provide non-medical interventions to improve health. 
They will only fund year 1 and need partners to have a commitment from ccg or similar to agree to fund after that. 

Issues outstanding are:

  • It’s key to integrate social prescribing into the current health systems
  • CCG’s need to be on board for this funding
  • At the moment there isn’t funding for the people who provide the social prescribing – even though the outcome is medical.

 

Thank you Steph

Steph Clarke just about to pick up an award in May 2013
Steph just about to pick up an award in May 2013

——

It was a common joke that Steph came to work for a rest.  She heard it often and it always made her smile.

Besides a full time job with us, Steph Clarke was busy.

She and her husband James started and ran the hugely significant hyperlocal blog WV11. Both volunteered to run their local community centre and she was a driving force on the board of the local charity Hands on Wednesfield.  Steph had just raised more than £5000 for new Christmas lights for her local high street – even though James thought she was pushing her luck on that one.

She seemed to almost effortlessly run a photography business on the side, helped with her local (and large ) photography club, made the Wolverhampton Social Media Surgery happen and supported a range of home school groups. Steph organised voluntary events for Big Lunch Extras, got stuck into making new things happen through Make Shift in Wolverhampton and sorted regular social nights for her and her friends.

In between she never flinched from standing up for injustice (as anyone on the very sharp end of her unflinchingness will tell you) or caring for someone who might not even know that they needed a kindness.

Above all though she was a wholeheartedly committed wife, mother, daughter, grand-daughter and sister.   Loyalty was at her core.

So did Steph come to work for a rest?

The truth is that she was too restless to be all that good at resting.  Her commitment to what we do at Podnosh was total.  Throughout the 5 years she worked here Steph was happiest when we were stupidly busy.  She loved learning new things, solving problems, seeing work through – sometimes with very gritted teeth.  She could not fail to connect her different worlds of work and volunteering and home to make them all work better. She helped and connected people almost casually and her stock pot of social capital was rich and full of flavour.

Our company values are: Think, Make Things Better and Give a ****.  She relished telling people that, especially the sweary bit. She blogged to her friends:

“What do I do? I think, I make a difference, I give a f**k! – and I’m really proud of that!”

She embodied these values and at times scolded me (respectfully, he’s “the boss’) if I wasn’t doing the same.  (She could smell hypocrisy at a 1000 yards and might need talking down from shouting it out every time she sniffed it).

Most days that we worked together ended the same.  She’d head off to do another days work in her life and I’d say ‘thank you’.  I wasn’t really thanking her for the work she’d done.  It was for her being generous enough to bring all of the intensity and decency of herself to work.

Last Thursday our working day ended differently.  So here I’d just like to say one final ‘thank you, Steph’ x.

 

 

 

(Steph Clarke died on Friday November 25th after falling ill the previous day)

 

All new shiny Grantnav or where to find information on where charity grants go.

infromation on grant given by funders in the uk

I’ve been to many an open data event and written about it, used it and encouraged it’s use for years.

Never have I seen a standing ovation for a data project – until Friday.

Grantnav is a tool built on the open data that grant funders are releasing using 360giving standards.  It’s a wonderful thing.  It’s uncomplicated but powerful.

Intrigued? I bet you are.  Before you read on – go there (no login needed) and have a play When you’re done you might also be tempted to stand and applaud the people behind this.

It’s not just the determination and clarity of thinking of the team at 360giving (and the tech team at Open Data Services) that deserves applause; it’s also the willingness of the funders to fund this programme and release their data. The largest are Big Lottery Fund and Esme Fairbairn Foundation, the smallest is Three Guineas Trust.

Today there are 25 funders, who have openly shared 184,483 grants awarded to 124,212 recipients worth a total of £8,540,945,514 – yes £8.5 billion.   Next month it will be more.

So why does this matter to you?

 

Grantnav for the local community group, charity or social enterprise. 

  • You can search this information by which place and what activity the grants were given to
  • You can see who gives grants for things that matter to you.
  • You can see who else has received grants in areas that interest you
  • You can find partners with shared interest to collaborate
  • You can find evidence of whether your places or areas of interest are being well funded or poorly funded.
  • You can download this information and combine it with other information, or analyse in new ways
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Grantnav for local councils and other public services

  • Publish your grant giving using the 360giving open data standards
  • Combine the data with your own to learn new things about civic activity in your community
  • Analyse how well your area is being served
  • Find partners to work with
  • Find work to celebrate
  • It’s a ready made list of some of your civic organisations
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Grantnav for grant givers 

  • Publish your grant giving using the 360giving open data standards
  • Find gaps in funding
  • Find partners to work with
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Developers 

  • use the data to provide new services for civic activity
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Enjoy and use and download this data – but remember two things: this work sits on other work – like the amazing  open charities –  and this is just a start.

 

 

Growing the civic conversation online – a platform for healthier local democracy and healthier communities.

Austin Rodriguez and Lewis O-Rourke

Bit by bit we’ve been doing something strategic in Birmingham.   Every social media surgery that happens in the city helps in a number of ways:

  • Provides new skills to individual active citizens
  • Creates a place where people can meet each other
  • Helps community groups and the public sector use the web to talk to each other
  • Grows the civic conversation online.

This last one has been the strategic part.

I think that growing the civic conversation online is an important part of building new platforms in neighbourhoods. It helps traditional civic activity work better and new civic models emerge.

This is based on a simple assumption that if more civically minded people are using the web to talk to each other in a community it will be easier for politicians, public servants and other citizens to share ideas, information  and collaborate or campaign.  Of course people can and will use the web to talk about brangelina – but with the surgeries we target those already involved in or wishing to do something consciously civic.

We’ve taken this a step further in the last two or three years. A normal social media surgery is run by volunteers for volunteers – the free help is available to active citizens, local charities and community groups.

With funding from three of  the different quadrants of the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership  and some other initiatives  (thank you) we have run surgeries which involve public servants too. This means that they come to a surgery to get help on why and how to use social media. More than that though they learn alongside local community groups and active citizens. At times they are teaching each other – strengthening understanding and relationships.

We also used the effort to help spread live streaming of meetingscreate alternatives to traditional ward cttes and give public services tools to think about the stages of engaging online.

We sent out a survey to people who’ve used the social media surgeries in Birmingham. 35 people replied, about 10 per cent of those involved. They were a mixture of volunteers, third sector workers, public servants and at least one councillor.

The Survey

social media and public sector
does learning about social media influence how you think about your work

A third of people said what they had learned had influence how they think about their work ‘a lot’ – three quarters replied either 4 or 5 to that question.

One comment from a worker in a charity supporting charities said

“If I hadn’t started using social media  to build relationships I doubt I’d still be employed in my organisation, and I doubt my organisation would be doing some of the brilliant work it is doing. It’s enabled both me and my organisation to be pro-active in a rapidly changing and challenging context”

Do you use social media to build relationships in your work?
Do you use social media to build relationships in your work?
can you make (civic) things happen because you use social media ?
can you make (civic) things happen because you use social media ?

65% of people felt better able to make things happen because they are using social media. This is a core point. Growing the civic conversation is not just about more blither – it’s about more action.

Would it help your work if more community groups and active citizens were using the internet
Would it help your work if more community groups and active citizens were using the internet

Developing these skills in community groups and active citizens was also seen as a fresh opportunity by at least 77% of those who replied.  They know that the online civic conversation can help them get things done – so helping more people get involved ought to help that more.

have you seen the online conversation grow?
have you seen the online conversation grow?

More than 85 % felt they has seen the online civic conversation grow since getting involved with the social media surgery.  You would expect that to be the case for most people, simply being exposed to new people and new places where civic things get discussed would have that effect. But it is still encouraging to see that they have a wider civic conversation to take part in.

So Birmingham – you’ve already started a strategic investment in building a critical platform for civic change.   Persistence is paying off. Some more?  And what next? Which other new platforms are worth building?

If you’re not Birmingham, other places understand this and we can help you.  We introduced Dudley CVS to the why and wherefores and they have been running surgeries for years – indeed it was Lorna Prescott who told me that what were doing was platform building (sometimes it takes others to spot the obvious).