Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2019 be confirmed.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
No declarations of interest were received.
Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager:
a) presented the committee with a brief introduction of Social Isolation in the city of Lincoln
b) outlined the purpose of the review which was to investigate:
- how prevalent social isolation actually was in Lincoln and why it was occurring
- what support was currently in place for people suffering from isolation
- whether the current support was sufficient to address the issue of social isolation
c) introduced the key witnesses that were taking part in this introductory review which were:
- Councillor Rosie Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequality
- Councillor Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing and representative on the Health and Wellbeing Board
- Andrew McNeil, Assistant Director, Housing and Investment
- Ben Barley, Chief Executive Voluntary Centre Services
- Sian Wade, Network Co-ordinator, Active Faith Network
d) explained that a previous meeting had taken place with Victoria Sleight, Neighbourhood Lead, Lincolnshire South, of the Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust as she was unable to attend this review and further evidence was gathered.
Scrutiny Review Into Social Isolation - Evidence Gathering
The following will be in attendance at the meeting to provide evidence and contributions as part of the Scrutiny Review:
- Councillor Rosie Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequalities;
- Councillor Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing and representative on the Health and Wellbeing Board;
- Amanda Sowerby, Operations Director, Lincoln and South Lincolnshire, Age UK;
- Ben Barley, Chief Executive, Voluntary Centre Services;
- Sian Wade, Network Co-ordinator, Active Faith Network.
Donald Nannestad - Portfolio Holder for Housing
Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Housing:
a) provided a brief presentation to the committee in relation to Social Isolation
b) highlighted a number of key topics surrounding social isolation which included:
- Social Prescribing Referrals and case studies on how it had been successful
- Difficulty in accessing transport
- The Compassionate Frome Project - mapping the local agencies and community groups and giving patients the support they needed through Health Connectors and Community Connectors
- Ageing Better East Lindsey – A National Lottery funded programme set up by the Big Lottery Fund which supported people later in life with activities in the local community to help combat social isolation and loneliness
- Men’s Sheds – a group where older men could meet up for a chat and take part in numerous projects
c) invited members’ comments and questions.
Question: What was meant by prescribing Social Referrals?
Response: People could be referred to a programme by their GP’s who struggled socially. GP’s had experienced a lot of regular patients turning up for appointments who hadn’t seen anyone for days. These groups helped people overcome barriers of being isolated.
Ben Barley - Voluntary Centre Services
Ben Barley, Voluntary Centre Services:
a) provided a brief presentation on the involvement the Voluntary Centre Services had in relation to Social Isolation
b) explained that with regards to Social Prescribing a group was set up in 2017 with the neighbourhood team in Gainsborough and it was a challenge getting people to engage. They worked with Lincolnshire County Council, Fire and Rescue and the DWP helped with referrals
c) informed that a group was funded to enable the Health and Wellbeing Board and the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) to take referrals
d) highlighted that there was 1 navigator in each Neighbourhood area of Lincoln
e) stated that in the last 6 months, the NHS launched a long term plan for primary care networks and funding could be accessed through navigators to deliver the service
f) invited members’ comments and questions.
Question: Were there any case studies to represent the outcomes of the work that had been carried out?
Response: Yes, there had been. Ben Barley agreed to circulate case studies to members in due course.
Question: It was recognised that 250 people turning up for support from one individual was excessive. How long would they be supported for?
Response: Generally 12 weeks, but this could be longer. There were different levels of support which then lead to signposting.
Question: Were the services provided by Volunteers or trained staff?
Response: Yes. Some charities/volunteers had worked with local organisations to help signpost sufficiently.
The Chair added that navigators were based at Volunteer Centres to provide a good level of advice.
Question: Was there an alternative way of helping individuals that weren’t dependant on the service?
Response: Not at the moment, it was definitely a balancing act.
Question: Was there a sufficient amount of take up from individuals?
Response: There was a good take up in Lincoln. Most GP’s had taken part but referrals were continuing to increase.
Question: Was it possible for a referral procedure to be sent to the committee?
Response: Ben Barley to circulate.
Question: How do people who don’t ask for help get the support they need?
Response: It was still a huge challenge for the people who were at home alone. The Voluntary Centre Services worked closely with the Fire and Rescue to help identify people in need of support.
Sian Wade - Active Faith Network
Sian Wade, Active Faith Network:
a) provided a brief introduction on the work she did with the Active Faith Network to help tackle Social Isolation
b) explained that an audit was carried out in 2015 which highlighted the following:
- there were 353 projects currently ongoing in the City Centre
- a poll was carried out on a churches Facebook group and the feedback was that people didn’t know who their neighbours were, people weren’t aware of the groups that had been set up and that most of those groups were during the day so people who worked were unable to attend. There were also a couple of responses in relation to young mums on RAF bases that felt isolated and people who were new to the city didn’t feel welcome or accepted.
c) stated that encouraging participation was a key thing and that transport made participation more difficult
d) highlighted a number of groups that were currently running which were:
- Butterflies – paper sessions for women
- Assist in Cherry Willingham – a project where people could call at any time to be transported around the city
- A gap in these groups was identified and there was no support to help people/families who had recently moved into the city. Families now received a welcome box which provided goodies for families and information on which groups to attend.
- Lunching clubs and church café’s for people to meet up
- Libraries and community hubs had proved to be very successful
e) Invited members comments’ and questions.
Question: Do individuals who speak a different language get enough support?
Response: Training was currently taking place with some people from Derby who were experienced in that area. There were connectors in Sincil bank that provided a huge amount of support for people who didn’t speak English as a first language.
Question: How were those families found?
Response: Most families were found through the Syrian settlement and were signposted to the Mosque etc.
Question: How were single parents being helped/supported?
Response: There were no specific groups identified that targeted single mums.
Question: What website was used to signpost?
Response: It was called Connect To Support. Sian agreed to send the website information to the committee.
Rosie Kirk - Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequality
Rosie Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequality:
a) briefly outlined her role and responsibilities as Portfolio Holder
b) highlighted a number of issues relating to social isolation:
- Neighbourhood boards could be utilised to help in the communities with Social Isolation
- Working from home was a major cause of Social Isolation
- Events such as Share the Care group which enabled carers to socialise with other carers
c) invited members comments and questions.
Question: Did things like Google Home/Alexa help with Social Isolation?
Response: There wasn’t proof that they helped with social isolation but things like music etc. did.
Question: Could something be done to help students become more sociable?
Response: There was some work taking place in Sincil bank which included the Good Neighbour Scheme. The chair highlighted other neighbourhood areas in the city as Sincil bank was the only one that was resourced.
Members were supportive of the neighbourhood boards becoming more involved in events to help combat social isolation however there were some concerns around liability insurance, first aid and health and safety as it was difficult to fund and members of the neighbourhood boards would require support when organising such an event. Suggestions were made around a checklist being put together which would help people prepare for an event rather than be seen to put people off.
Scrutiny Review Into Social Isolation - Next Steps
Graham Watts asked Members and Officers for suggestions of any other external representatives that would be useful to involve in the next part of the review on Social Isolation.
Members and Officers suggested the following:
- The Network
- University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste
- MacMillan/Bereavement Services
- National Citizen Service
- Carers First
- Public Health (Lincolnshire County Council)
- Age UK Limited
RESOLVED that the suggestions be noted.
The scoping document for this review was noted.
Jess Cullen, Democratic Services Officer:
RESOLVED that the work programme 2019/20 as detailed at Appendix A to the report be noted subject to the following:
a) the Chair and Vice Chair to scope a work programme for next municipal year and present at the next meeting for comments.