What is a Community Connector?
Community Connectors are volunteers who work with us to help older people find ways out of loneliness and isolation. They play a vital role in connecting people with their communities as part of our social prescribing service.
What is social prescribing?
Social prescribing is a way of linking people with sources of support in the community. At Brightlife, we are testing it as a way of reducing loneliness and isolation amongst people aged 50 and over.
Older people can be referred to our service by health professionals, by friends and family, or can refer themselves. One of our Social Prescribing Co-ordinators will then support them to set personal goals that will help them access a range of activities and services in their local community and enjoy new company. This could be anything from joining a club or group of people with similar interests, to simply meeting people they can enjoy a coffee with.
We are testing social prescribing in Malpas, Winsford and Chester, with a view to rolling it out across other areas in Chester West and Chester if it is successful. We have until April 2020 to do this.
How do Community Connectors fit in?
Community Connectors support the work of our Social Prescribing Co-ordinators by providing practical support to the older people we work with. Our Community Connectors choose the ways in which they would like to support our Social Prescribing Co-ordinators, depending on their own interests and skills.
There is a wide range of ways in which they help. These include:
- Accompanying Social Prescribing Co-ordinators on home visits to help individuals set and reach their goals
- Transporting an individual to somewhere in the local community
- Assisting Social Prescribing Co-ordinators with regular drop-in sessions
- Accompanying an older person on their first visit to an activity or service and staying with them
- Visiting or making telephone contact with an older person to help encourage and motivate them to reach their goals
- Being involved in events to promote the social prescribing service
- Acting as an ambassador for Brightlife within your local community
What do I need to become a Community Connector?
The most important thing you need is the desire to help older people find the route out of loneliness or isolation that is right for them. At Brightlife, we focus on the things that older people can do, rather than the things they can’t, and on the many ways in which they are able to contribute to community life. An important part of your role will be to help connect people with local opportunities that enable them to explore their interests, talents and skills.
We will provide you with training to perform your role. This will include safeguarding and lone worker training. You will be required to:
- Undertake a DBS check (formerly called a CRB check)
- Provide two references
- Complete a Brightlife induction
- Complete the Community Connector training programme