Support Northamptonshire Customer Forum Event

Community Wellbeing in Wellingborough - Monday 21st July 2014

Residents from across the borough spoke about the huge difference Support Northamptonshire has made to their lives and got the chance to shape the future of the service at a recent event in the town.

The event, at Wellingborough Museum, on Monday 21 July, was attended by users of the service, representatives from our partner organisations and members of our customer forum.

Laura Anderson and Rashmi Shah, from the Support Northamptonshire customer forum led the session and explained the importance of the feedback of people who use the service in shaping our services going forward.

Opening the event, Pratima Dattani, Head of Support Northamptonshire, explained the service now has 30 partner organisations working together to provide vital support and advice to people across the borough.

"There were already plenty of organisations doing fantastic work to support people in Wellingborough but what we have done now is pool that effort and make sure we are all pulling in the right direction. We now have 30 partner organisations providing support on everything from debt issues to domestic abuse.

"The most important thing is that people who need support only have to tell their story once and they are then referred into Support Northamptonshire to get the support they need for all of their needs, not just for the one they approached the initial organisation for.

"When people seek support for one issue there are so often others which are related. Support Northamptonshire enables us to assess all of the needs a person has and make sure they get the help they need.

"In just over a year we have established a thriving network of organisations which are all doing great work under the Support Northamptonshire umbrella and we have helped hundreds of people."

Samantha Wells, who used the service at a difficult time in her life, spoke about her experiences and how important Support Northamptonshire had been to her.

"I don't know where I would be without it," explained Samantha, who found herself caring for her husband full time and working at the same time following a sudden deterioration in his health.

"My situation was so difficult and things had really got on top of me - I didn't know what to do and I became depressed. I reached out and got support from Wellingborough MIND and they referred me to Support Northamptonshire.

"The help I got after that changed mine and my husband's lives. I felt like I had a fairy godmother looking after me. Within a few months we had a new home, help with our finances and things were just so much brighter. Just knowing someone is there and coordinating the support makes a huge difference."

Inspired by Samantha, others shared their stories. One user of the service said following the sudden death of her husband the support she had received had been invaluable and that she didn't know it existed until she had been referred by Support Northamptonshire. Another said his life had been transformed from one of drink, drug addiction and depression to one where he has stability and is now involved in social work himself.

Nikki Glazebrook, from Support Northamptonshire, detailed our new outreach scheme, funded by a £ 350,000 Big Lottery Fund grant.

The Connecting Communities project will see support and advice taken out into communities which find it more difficult to access help. Residents will be able to receive support and advice in their community, benefit from a Good Neighbour befriending scheme to prevent social isolation and also get free advice and help on how to keep their homes warm and energy efficient. More details on this scheme will be available soon.

And Rosie Newbigging, the CEO of Healthwatch Northamptonshire, which holds care services to account and aims to give all users a voice, also delivered a talk on the work of her organisation.

Residents and support organisations in attendance got the chance to take part in workshops and have their say on what support meant to them in terms of physical, mental and social wellbeing as we look to shape the service going forward.

And the event came to a close with a competition as those who attended formed groups to draw a visual representation of what they felt Support Northamptonshire represented to them.

Do you need support? Have you used the service and now want to help us shape it in the future? Contact us to find out more.

Below are some posters to represent "What does Support Northamptonshire mean to you?"

Support Northamptonshire poster 1 Support Northamptonshireposter 2 Support Northamptonshireposter 3 Support Northamptonshireposter 4 Support Northamptonshireposter 5