Our project in Stockport, Oldham and Tameside is just completing a bid in to NHS England for year 3 funding. When I say Year 3, I need to clarify – Year 1 was the last month of the Financial Year of 2015/6, so it’s not that we are under reporting here – just a quirk of the funding. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say these are small funds in the scale of NHS transformation – tiny, even – but the 6 projects across England are all punching above their weight in what they are doing.
In the NW there are 3 projects -us, the GM Cancer Vanguard, and Morecambe Bay. We’re all doing things differently, but have great learning to share. We were heartened by the RSA Seminar yesterday that brought together people from across the North who were interested to hear more about what we are learning. The day gave us some opportunity to share that, but also encouraged other areas to have a go too.
Our Year 3 plan is to really focus on connecting up with health the 3 core project areas that we have developed – arts, food and small grants work across the 3 boroughs. Each area has significant transformation plans for health and social care, so Year 3 is our opportunity to ensure that social movement thinking is in the weft of that transformational activity. Each of the areas has already committed in its planning, as has GM more broadly, to focus on place based approaches – creating networks around neighbourhoods, recognising and supporting the growth of the assets that exist in places and people – and building on these. We’ve found there is no shortage of people wanting to contribute their passion, energy, experience, knowledge, interest and skill – and to do this creatively and collaboratively to address social isolation and loneliness. In Year 2 we gave small grants to 47 organisations across the 3 areas, and all have been busy doing things that have ranged from work to map and galvanise faith community activity around isolation and loneliness to arts materials for a small and emerging craft group. We are bringing all our fantastic projects together next month and we think that is going to be a creative, exciting event where anything could happen! Look out for the films, photos and words to come….