Combined Healthcare’s partnership with Communities Together

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust is proud to be working in partnership with Communities Together Stoke-on-Trent to provide mental health and wellbeing support and advice for the local community.

Communities Together has a vision for Stoke-on-Trent that all communities are vibrant and inclusive – where people are aspirational and feel a sense of belonging and pride in their places.

The approach currently involves a network of over 30 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector working in partnership with their communities to design and deliver different ways of working which maximise the strengths and community connections of people locally.

Communities Together is based on a set of values and principles around the simple ambition to ‘do the right thing’ for people living in Stoke-on-Trent when they need support at any time in their lives to live well and as independently as possible with purpose and connection. Despite the enormity of the pressures on the health and social care system at present, Communities Together is able to demonstrate that by working differently there is much that can be done to improve outcomes for people.

The service works at the heart of communities and provides 17 Community Lounges which are easily accessible to local people and are free of charge to attend. The local Community Lounge offer is tailored to provide support to the community in question and helps to reduce inequalities in health. The service is cost effective and contributes significantly to building community capital. Local people are trained to run activity sessions, grow food and carry out blood pressure checks to help to improve their physical and mental health.

The Lounges provide a place for residents, families and individuals to gain local advice and support on a range of topics. These topics include:

  • budgeting skills
  • employment and training
  • volunteering
  • community activities
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • fuel poverty
  • housing
  • benefit support
  • finding transport
  • carer support
  • independent living

Combined Healthcare is working in partnership with Community Lounges to provide mental health and wellbeing support for attendees of the Lounges. Various teams from within the trust attend select Lounge sessions each week and are available to provide specialist face-to-face advice and support in relation to mental health and wellbeing.

As well as the support the trust is able to offer, Communities Together has developed a network of over 30 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector to offer additional support for the range of topics listed above.

The Community Lounges host a wide variety of organisations in one place so that one visit to a local Community Lounge can provide support for a topic to suit the attendee’s needs. This has involved creating Lounges which are informal, welcoming places people can go when they are struggling or need support and advice. The areas covered have been thoughtfully selected to reflect the challenges that people living in the North Staffordshire area are facing. The Lounges are based in those places many people already go and may happen alongside other activities, meaning people who hadn’t reached out can easily get support if they need it and more people are finding out about the community activities already on offer.

By truly connecting, understanding each other’s strengths, challenges and opportunities, each unique local team has redesigned processes, addressed organisational and system barriers, reduced bureaucracy and delays, created capacity, raised morale and, most importantly, has improved people’s experience and their resulting outcomes.

Visit the Communities Together website for more information on where the Lounges are based and the support available in each location.