Bringing the community in: Supporting older people build social capital

Name of the organisation: Orbit South Sherwood House, Hastings.

Contact person: Anna Wilson-Patterson


Phone: 01424 720095

Personalisation Activity:

Service providers in the local area were invited to have a stall at an Information Morning in the communal lounge of Sherwood House, Hastings. Clients were offered individual consultations with four services.

Who were involved?

East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre, Allergy Support, Orbit Community Investment Team and Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation and Care Centre (ARRCC)

East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre


Following feedback through clients support plans and Orbit client surveys, scheme staff invited specific service providers to be accessible to clients within the communal lounge for a two hour ‘drop-in’ session. The Information Morning was discussed at two client meetings and flyers and balloons were put up around the scheme on the morning.

ARRCC offered a ‘taster day’ in a fortnights time including lunch and transport for clients to go and try their day centre activities.

Orbit Community Investment Team offered funding applications to clients for ‘learning’ activities and agreed to work with a local service provider to run an exercise class at Sherwood House in the future

11 clients took the opportunity to have individual consultation sessions, three clients with mobility problems who don’t get out much had consultations sessions with all four service providers.

Time frame:

The concept of service providers coming into Sherwood House was discussed twice at the monthly clients meetings. The drop-in Information Morning session lasted approximately two hours and took place on the 30th May 2014 . Clients taking up new services will be asked about their take up of services within the next month.

What evidence have you had this has improved outcomes for individuals using services?

The event demonstrated that by services providing outreach and making themselves available at the communal lounge/home of older clients, especially those with mobility problems, can provide the boost needed to start new relationships. Clients improved their access to other services and improved natural circles of support.

“It was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. I love joining things”

“I’m going to do an I.T. Course"

  • One client who is reluctant to access hearing services despite her isolation not being able to hear other clients, had a new tube fitted in her hearing aid and greed to contact the hospital for an assessment.
  • Two clients signed up for I.T. classes
  • One client signed up for a Literature class
  • Five clients had individual 20 minute consultations with East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre

How this resulted in improved outcomes for the service itself?

Scheme Staff at Sherwood House are aware that some clients would like to go out more but need support to increase their confidence, plus practical support for example funding to attend courses or day centres and accessible transport. By bringing services to clients as apposed to individually accompanying clients this means that the service can target the support it offers efficiently and effectively. 

What challenges did the organisation face? How were these resolved?Clients who have good mobility were initially disinterested in the concept of inviting services inside Sherwood House. It was explained by staff that these activities are useful for those with specific needs e.g. people with hearing problems or those with limited mobility

Are there any resources or top tips to share?

  • Allow clients time to think over the idea for a month or two before the event, especially when inviting new services into a sheltered scheme

  • Using the local third sector umbrella body for contact addresses means you can find smaller more specialist service providers

health care