We have partnered with Age UK Cornwall & Isles of Scilly to create an online community directory and guided conversation tool that connects people with advice, local support and social activities.
Research shows that having social connections is key to experiencing a good later life. For some people this is about having an active social life – engaging with their local community, pursuing hobbies and interests.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly there are literally thousands of community-based activities that can help to people to stay connected. There are also hundreds of organisations offering important health and care services.
We have been working in collaboration with Age UK Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, their staff, volunteers, GPs, Macmillan Cancer Research and other partners from the voluntary sector to create an online community directory for community groups and social activities.
The Cornwall Link website was launched in December 2017 and has since attracted interest from a variety of community and clinical stakeholders who recognise the value of signposting people to a community-based care portal.
Last year, Age UK Cornwall received 5,319 calls to their telephony based ‘Helpline’. Of these calls, 3,872 had a referral for a service of some kind. 864 rang for benefits advice with £1.3m gained in additional benefits for this group. 97% of people rated it as a successful call / outcome. This service has been funded through donations and crowdsourcing.
Age UK Cornwall believe that the Cornwall Link can extend the reach of their Helpline by providing people, carers, volunteers and health providers with instant online access to community resources and healthcare services that can be refined based on an individual’s support needs, health conditions, interests or geography. Accordingly, we have co-designed an “online guided conversation” – a holistic questionnaire that generates suggestions of relevant social activities and support based on an individual’s preferences, health, lifestyle and environment.
Here are some of The Cornwall Link’s features:
Filters that refine a user’s search by location, support needs, interests or health conditions;
An ‘add to favourites’ option which stores a user’s favourite resources whilst they continue browsing;
The ability to submit community activities, support services and volunteering opportunities;
A showcase of community stories;
A resource area for volunteers and practitioners.
The Cornwall Link is changing
Later this year (2018), the Cornwall Link will become a hub for social connection and community exchange: a place to find and engage with activities in the community; and a place to find and engage with members of the community. Over the next six months, we will redevelop the Cornwall Link to deliver a more effective, holistic and ‘person-centred’ social prescribing model; whereby ‘patients’, social prescribing navigators and GPs can access community resources and non-medical links, whilst helping community partners and healthcare professionals to record the progress that a ‘patient’ makes. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.