Housing and the VCSE sector should be both strategic partners and delivery partners in helping to improve health and wellbeing. Housing is integral to health and wellbeing and VCSE organisations are often the first to identify and respond to local needs.
Seeing them as full partners and ensuring they have the funding and autonomy to work closely with communities can increase community capacity, help build resilience and sustainability, and empower communities to design services and support that work for local people.
Making it Real statements
I have a place I can call home, not just a ‘bed’ or somewhere that provides me with care."
We know that the place where people live, the people they live with, and the support they get, are important to their wellbeing and often interlinked. We have conversations with people to make sure we get all aspects right for them as individuals."
Tips for success
- Recognise the valuable role of VCSE organisations connecting people into hyper-local services and support. For example, VCSE hospital discharge services convening other more local VCSE organisations to coordinate and ensure people have some ongoing support.
- Recognise the important role community groups can play in tackling health inequalities often working closely with people who health and social care organisations can struggle to reach.
- Build on what already exists in communities rather than starting from scratch, for example, joining up primary care network link workers, community navigators, mental health and other neighbourhood roles to have a greater impact.
- Understand that short-term non-recurrent funding and competitive tendering can act as a barrier to sustainability, scaling up or adapting services, and collaboration.
- Explore how VCSE organisations can provide preventative support to individuals and families who would not otherwise meet eligibility criteria for statutory services.
- Look at different models of housing and support such as Shared Lives Plus or Keyring which focus on social connection and build community capacity, are cost effective and deliver positive outcomes.
- Housing LIN resources and research relevant to anyone working in housing, health and social care. Focus on living well in good quality housing.
- Conclusions of the Joint VCSE review initiated by the Department of Health, Public Health England, and NHS England.
- Centre for Ageing Better on safe and accessible homes showcasing research, good practice and innovation.
- Institute for Voluntary Action Research case studies from the Building Health Partnerships programme which encouraged joint working between the NHS, local government, citizens and VCSE organisations.
- Isle of Wight’s Living Well Service, co-designed and operated by a coalition of VCSE partners which have successfully managed demand, including case studies.
- Bromley By Bow Centre – a combined neighbourhood hub, medical practice and community research project, a pioneer in community and neighbourhood working.
- Keyring – a strengths-based model of accommodation and support which emphasises social connection.
- Shared Lives Plus – shared lives and home sharing where people visit or live with carers, combining social relationships and professional support.
- Leicestershire’s case study of their Lightbulb schemes which saw reductions in NHS admissions and spend.
- Wakefield and York’s experiences of aligning link worker and community capacity.