JOINUS – Client led social network for older people
Name of the organisations: Amicus Horizon and Lewes District Council
Contact persons: Robin Deane Amicus Horizon Liz Martin Lewes District Council
Email: Robin.Deane@AmicusHorizon.org.uk Liz.Martin@lewes.gov.uk
Phone: Robin – 01424 728200 Liz – 01273 484261
A client led social network for older people
Who is involved?
Clients, staff, University of Brighton and local agencies
Older people in Amicus Horizon and Lewes District Council identified they wanted more choice and control in developing social networks and activities. ‘Join Us’ a client led social network has been developed that:
• Expands the programme of activities and events in and around sheltered housing schemes
• Empowers residents who want to take part in activities – giving them choice and control
• Enables older residents to support each other
• Promotes equality by extending support to older residents who live outside sheltered housing
• Promotes digital inclusion
A key part of the project is developing social/digital media tools to support the network backed up by more traditional forms of communicating and networking to ensure inclusiveness.
The activity started in August 2013 the project stage will last until May 2015 however the network will be ongoing.
What evidence have you had this has improved outcomes for individuals using services?
• Clients are forming social networks with those from other localities building on their natural circles of support
• Digital inclusion is improving clients choice and control over social activities and extending to other areas of their lives e.g. economic wellbeing
How this resulted in improved outcomes for the service itself?
• Different staff and teams are working more closely to personalise services e.g. IT, community development
• Staff skills and time is used more effectively as client build their natural circles of support
What challenges did the organisation face? How were these resolved?
The large numbers of clients involved meant that substantial time had to be devoted at the beginning ensuring the project was truly client led. This has been helped by the clients forming a steering group who then elected a core group to take work forward e.g. recruitment of the coordinator.
The partnership of two organisations presents issues such as both HR departments having to approve the job description for the coordinator. This however is far outweighed by the advantages of having two agencies that can contribute different resources at different times
Are there any resources or top tips to share?
TIP – Do not underestimate the time resources needed particularly at the beginning however this initial investment of staff time will be compensated as clients build their on their natural circles of support.
JD for coordinator