Bath & North East Somerset Council: Cross-partner Community Wellbeing Hub

Bath and North East Somerset Council are continuing to mobilise their cross-partner Community Wellbeing Hub to support the most vulnerable residents, most recently addressing the pressures created by the cost of living crisis.

The initiative

In Bath and North East Somerset we are continuing to mobilise our cross- partner Community Wellbeing Hub to support the most vulnerable, most recently addressing the pressures created by the cost-of living crisis.

Established in March 2020 as a key part of Bath and North East Somerset Council's pandemic response, the Community Wellbeing Hub – a partnership between the Council, BSW Clinical Commissioning Group, HCRG Care Group and a wide range of voluntary organisations – has received over 18,000 calls to date. 830 Emergency food parcels were delivered from March 2020 to March 2022 and over 2,000 volunteers supported the Hub’s COVID-19 response by providing shopping and medication support. 

The Hub continues to build on this work and the relationships and systems that were forged during the pandemic. It has put in place a clear and innovative system built on the “Riviam” platform for managing contacts, making onward referrals to partners, sharing data and tracking progress. The Hub is built around a “triage” supported by “pods” which address food, logistics, medication, mental health and wellbeing, public health advice, money matters, housing, transport, employment and skills advice and other key needs.

As priorities have changed, so the Hub’s focus has changed. To address pressures on the wider health system, the Hub secured £16,000 of funding to provide 400 HELP packs to patients discharged from hospital to ease their transition back home or to support hospital avoidance. The packs provide practical support to patients well enough to leave hospital and continue their recovery at home. This help has become crucial in recent months as a result of the pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

The packs provide:

  • three meals a day for three days, together with snacks and drinks and essential toiletries
  • a welfare telephone call, a follow-up call, and a further call at 28 days from the Hub
  • referrals to other services – with welfare visits in certain circumstances
  • practical information on support available.

The HELP packs are available via the RUH hospital discharge Hub as well as to health professionals making a referral, including GPs and community reablement teams to help prevent hospital admissions.

So far, 170 people have received HELP packs and funding has provided a further 200 packs. The Help Packs were featured on local news programme BBC Points West,

The Council are planning further development of their Hub as a tried and tested model for quick and effective response. The Hub has carried out the welfare visits required under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and arranged onward referrals to Citizens Advice, welfare support, Bath Mind, and local groups and activities. 

The Council is also publicising the range of support on offer locally, including their Welfare Support Scheme and “Food Finder” website, which lists groups that provide affordable food or emergency food parcels. As energy bills rise, their Energy at Home scheme helps improve the energy performance of residents’ homes by providing information on energy related home improvements, financial assistance schemes and signposting to suitable installers and contractors.