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December 7, 2021

One day the needle will shift

It’s ironic that in the midst of the most serious public health crisis in living memory, when resources are stretched beyond breaking point, the community-led health sector continues to struggle to be taken seriously as a provider of ‘upstream’ services that stand ready to alleviate pressure from the statutory services. Whether it’s the proven benefits of men’s sheds or Scotland’s many, long established community-led health improvement organisations, those who control the budgets seem incapable of shifting the needle. Not that more evidence is needed, but here’s another example of great value for money community led mental health services.

Mary Sinclair, SENScot

Full report

With Pockets & Prospects funding from Scottish Community Alliance, in late 2020, SENScot, CHEX & Scottish Communities for Health & Wellbeing (SCHW) developed a collaborative approach to address the mental health & wellbeing challenge that has emerged from the Covid19 crisis. 

This involved both community organisations and social enterprise suppliers offering mental health & wellbeing focused activities and services. Our approach was based on the model developed by SENScot & Glasgow SEN for the Glasgow Pockets & Prospects Project which aimed to tackle loneliness and to mitigate the negative impacts of welfare reform. 

Addressing mental health issues emerged as a key aspect of the Glasgow project, with community organisations reporting positive results for local people through accessing activities and services from social enterprise suppliers.

 It was also successful in that social enterprise suppliers reported a range of benefits, including increased trade and becoming more sustainable. Based on the previous success of the model and the comparable issues being addressed (i.e. increased mental health & wellbeing issues within communities and a loss of income for social enterprises as a result of covid-19) we were confident that this approach would provide a valuable lifeline to both local communities and social enterprise at a time of significant need.

 We worked together to identify / invite 15 community organisations who would have a strong awareness and understanding of the mental health & wellbeing needs within their workforce, people who access their activities and services and their wider community. At the same time, we called out to social enterprise suppliers, inviting them to submit fully costed offers that we collated as a menu of activities and services that could be viewed and accessed by the community organisations.

Given the extent of interest from suppliers and the expectation of the need to regularly update this menu, the menu of activities & services was accessible via a website rather than a pdf brochure