Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Today Giving presentation to Link workers programme team at the ALLIANCE


Tomorrow I have been invited to give a presentation to the new links programme team

you can get more information on the project below along with a blog post from Chris one of the team     

The Links Worker Programme is a Scottish Government funded programme which aims to explore how the primary care team can support people to live well in their community. It is being developed as a partnership between the The Alliance and General Practitioners at the Deep End (The Deep End >), in association with SAMH and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
It is made up of two inter-related interventions: the provision of a practice attached links worker, and the development by the practice team of a links approach. The interventions will target 7 GP practices in areas of high socio-economic deprivation in Glasgow.
The programme will see the creation of a new Community Links Practitioner role within the GP practice team and will also see the existing practice staff becoming skilled in identifying local resources and matching them to the needs of individual patients.
Typical examples of community resources include social or lunch clubs, self-help groups, befriending organisations, hobby clubs (such as gardening clubs), sports clubs, nature conservation, book groups, art or dance classes and employment or voluntary-work agencies. The Community Links Practitioners will be based in the GP practice and they will work with patients to assist them to access the local community resources that will support them to live well. For some people this will involve a quick discussion about what services are available in the area, for others it may involve spending more time analysing the barriers that they face in accessing support and helping them to overcome these.
The programme will also see the creation of a Senior Community Links Practitioner. The Senior Community Links Practitioner will offer direct support to community resources, aiming to increase their capacity to support people in their local community. This will involve working closely with different stakeholders to ascertain development needs and aspirations and to co-create meaningful and effective solutions that maximise their contribution in a community-orientated approach to primary care.
Dr Peter Cawston, Clinical Lead for the programme said:
Practices within the programme will expand the options available in a primary care consultation.  Helping people access the support available in their communities can bring new life opportunities that can add meaning, form new relationships, or give the person a chance to take more control over their own health and wellbeing.
There is often a wealth of support available locally, for example lunch clubs, self-help groups, befriending services, sports or arts clubs and voluntary or employment support opportunities.  All of these compliment what a GP service can offer but accessing them can be challenging for people and that is where this programme seeks to help.”
For more information about the programme, please contact Mark Charlton, Links Worker Programme Manager. 
You are welcome to visit the programme blog at >

The Shape of Links to Come!

The first few days in most new jobs usually stimulates a range of thoughts and feelings. That has certainly been the case over the past week. I’m Chris Gourley, recently in post as the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Programme.
My role will be focussed on working with the rest of the team to implement an action research methodology that supports us to better understand exactly what we are doing as we roll out this ambitious project, identifying success factors and areas for refinement. Designing data systems for collecting diverse information and supporting the team in the collection of this will also be a major part of my work over the next two years. This will serve both in house purposes as well as working in tandem with the in-depth external evaluation that will be undertaken.
The first week involved me and the seven (also) newly appointed Community Links Practitioners embarking on an induction programme that so far has been both thought provoking and inspiring. With such a size of team beginning at the same time there was a novel sense of ‘first day at school’ sentiment in the air, though as we all quickly became well acquainted with each other this morphed into a real excitement associated with embarking on a new initiative at the outset and playing a part in shaping something.
The 7 Community Links Practitioners, M&E Officer and Senior Community Links Practitioner
The 7 Community Links Practitioners, M&E Officer and Senior Community Links Practitioner
Through various activities to date we have, amongst other things, gained a deeper understanding of the links approach that we are aiming to implement, an awareness of the many considerations with regard to the settings we will be doing so within, i.e. ‘GP land’ and been introduced to the wellbeing support structure in place for the practitioners, which will be provided by SAMH. We also met other professionals working in the field at a community asset mapping day at The Lighthouse and are beginning to get a feel for how our work will fit with and build on other ongoing work, including many of the other great projects underway here at The ALLIANCE.
As we begin to map out our work plans for the months ahead the non-proscriptive, flexible approach inherent within the programme is apparent and we can see that establishing mechanisms for sharing learning between experiences in each of the different practice communities will be vital.
Similarly, the range of complementary skills held across the team will be a massive asset as the project evolves towards engendering greater understanding of the adoption of a links approach and ensuring that this early sense of excitement leads to one of satisfaction at much measurable impact and useful learning to come.
Looking forward to the exciting journey ahead!

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