The power of partnership working

Times are hard for so many people, but it is heartening to see that when organisations work well together, they can have such a positive impact.

Every GP surgery in north east Essex has a care adviser (GPCA) assigned to them.  The care adviser can often help the patient directly with a whole variety of issues but if it is something out of their remit, they can signpost them to other organisations to ensure a resolution is found.

GPCA Sue was passed the referral from a GP after the GP had seen a lady suffering with health issues that stemmed from financial pressures.  The lady and her partner were struggling to feed their four children (aged from 13yrs to 4yrs).  So concerned was the doctor that he had arranged the food parcel and delivered it himself.

When Sue got in touch, she found out that both parents were not working.  One had been in the hospitality industry but could not find work due to the current lockdown.  They were receiving Universal Credits, but this had been capped.  They had already used their quota of foodbank vouchers and were constantly having to borrow money from their parents to buy food.  The children had clothing issues, including one child going to school in trainers that were too small, plus they were behind with many their bills.

Straight away Sue was able to get in touch with a number of agencies to help with some of the financial issues, particularly advising the family to make contact with their creditors and inform them of the situation to see what support they might be able to get.  She also contacted some community organisations and arranged for Christmas lunch to be provided and a delivery of presents for the children.  Sue also engaged with her social prescribing colleague Paul at Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST).

Paul was able to deliver 6 winter packs (which included blankets, hats, gloves etc.) as well as toiletries and food items to the family.  He also organised for some bedroom furniture to be supplied.  Referrals to both the Tendring Baby Bank and Essex Free School Uniforms provided clothing for the children.

In addition to the physical goods provided, the mum has been referred for support with job skills to enable her to feel more confident when applying for roles.

Sue explains: “The young lady told me how much better she felt physically after our intervention and was amazed at all the help and support available.  She also told me that she really liked just being able to talk to me about her situation with understanding and unjudgementally.

Co-working with Paul and being in regular communication with him ensured that we did everything possible for the family without duplication.”

The partnership working in this scenario has been first class but the main objective for all involved, is to help the family get into a better position in the future.  To provide them with the skills and understanding of what can be done, where to get help and assistance before they reach a crisis point again.

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