The Area Council Manager drew attention to the information relating to the service supporting isolated and vulnerable older people. Members were reminded of the history of the project, starting in January, 2017, with a recommendation to extend this for a further year. The project, delivered by Age UK was due to finish on 14th January, 2019.
Performance of the service to date was satisfactory, however a discussion was pertinent due to the time required should a service be procured to deliver post 15th January, 2019.
Members were reminded of the recent workshop session, where Age UK presented their performance to date, and advised of future options.
The Area Council Manager highlighted the need for the service as originally procured which included the following:- that the Penistone Area has the highest rate of one person households aged 65+; that 39% of the population of Penistone East and West Wards are known to be aged 60+; the rural nature of the area, and the lack of facilities and amenities, particularly in outlying areas.
Members also noted the aims and objectives of the current service, and how these were being delivered through two Social Inclusion Workers with one focused on supporting individual service users, carers and volunteers and the other concentrating on activities to reach potential service users and development of group support.
The service had provided built a map of groups and activities and held a number of ‘eyes on the ground’ activities such as the Penistone Big Knit and Keeping Penistone Warm in order to engage service users. The service had worked closely with U3A and had established 10 new sustainable groups and 217 people attend new groups and activities as a result of the service.
733 interventions were made within year one of the contract and individual interventions had highlighted the complexities of social isolation. It was noted that year two of the contract would focus more on the outlying area, with sloppy slippers events being arranged in a number of villages.
The impact of volunteering was noted, including the 27 Good Neighbours currently in place, and volunteer drivers assisting the Community Car Scheme.
Members questioned the awareness of the Community Car Scheme and how this was promoted, and it was noted that this had been carefully managed in order ensure that there were appropriate numbers of drivers available to meet demand.
With regards to the wider promotion of the service, it was noted that that the Eyes On the Ground Events provided part of the promotion, and that the service had regularly been featured on Penistone FM. Social Media had been used, and there had been a number of features in Penistone Matters that gets delivered to every household. In addition a number of Parish Newsletters had promoted the service and information was available from Penistone Library, which also acted as a base for the staff.
The service had measured loneliness and wellbeing, with 81% of people scoring an increase in Wellbeing after 3 months and 63% showing a reduction in loneliness.
Members heard how the project was considered a pioneer and much of the evidence and learning was being used elsewhere in the borough.
Those present were made reminded of the current areas of need identified, which included developing existing provision such as volunteering through the Good Neighbours Scheme and Community Car Scheme. Also noted was the need to focus on providing a service to men, which were less likely to participate in group activities.
Further to the work done in year two of the commission, it was acknowledged that continued focus on outlying areas needed to be maintained, with Tankersley being suggested as one potential ‘hot spot’ for isolation.
Members also heard about the need to focus on physical and mental wellbeing; including walking, light exercise and getting people moving. It was suggested that this would also support those living with dementia.
Noted was the suggestion to work more closely with partners such as Community Pharmacy and Social Prescribing to ensure a more coherent service for older people in the area.
The Area Council Manager also alluded to the suggestion of Penistone acting as a pilot in Barnsley becoming an Age Friendly Town. It was suggested that this could be part of the Principal Towns Programme in Penistone.
The final suggested area of development related to intergenerational work, following on from the success that had been seen in this area through Bumping Spaces. It was also acknowledged that this would also help to meet the Area Council’s priorities of Health and Wellbeing and Supporting Young People.
After agreeing that need still existed in this area and the momentum that the good work already undertaken had acquired needed to be maintained, Members considered the options presented within the report, discussing the merits of each. Though the option of further commission was discussed in depth, Members felt that a number of smaller scale projects from a range of providers had merit, and suggested that this would be the preferred way forward, inviting submissions to the Working Together Fund. In addition it was also felt useful to establish a Health and Wellbeing network of providers, but that this could be part of one of the submissions.
The Area Council Manager provided an update with regards to the Working Together Fund. Including the initial allocation, and subsequent additions, the Working Together Fund had received £202,038 in total to allocate. Members noted that £33,856 remained for allocation at the time of the report, but subsequently an application had been recommended for approval which would leave £13,856 to allocate. It was suggested the Area Council considers a further allocation to the Working Together Fund at its next meeting, together with the likely level of demand likely placed on the Ward Alliance Fund.
Members were reminded that the contract for the Clean, Green and Tidy service, provided by Twiggs Grounds Maintenance had commenced in November, 2017 and had been invited to present a report on progress later in the agenda. This information would help to inform a discussion regarding the continuation of the service at the next meeting of the Area Council.
An overview of the current financial situation was then provided, and it was noted that £153,157 remained to allocate within the current financial year.
(i) That a proposal to invite bids to the Working Together Fund to address the needs of isolated and vulnerable older people be developed for consideration at the next meeting of the Area Council;
(ii) That the next meeting of the Area Council considers the financial position of the Ward Alliance Fund and Working Together Fund, and the anticipated demand within the current financial year;
(iii) That the current financial position of the Area Council be noted.