NEW roles at Copeland Council will link residents directly with help for their health and wellbeing.
The council's social prescribing team now includes two 'Community Connectors'. They are available to support people in a more holistic way by connecting them with a range of groups, activities and services.
Previously, residents needed to either access the council's directory of groups themselves, or be referred by NHS staff.
Social prescribing is a way of improving or maintaining health and wellbeing by connecting people with activities, support, exercise or hobbies in their community.
It has been shown to reduce pressure on the NHS by treating social issues that may be causing or exacerbating illness.
Social Inclusion Team Leader, Emma Williamson, said: "As an example, sometimes depression can be made worse by loneliness, so it may help if someone is able to access a social activity or support group near them. Or someone living with pain might be able to manage it better if they have an activity to aim towards attending.
"Our Community Connectors are also able, if someone needs extra support, to accompany them to a group for the first time."
The Community Connectors can help anyone over 18, and the support on offer includes:
• Help with using digital technology
• Advice on managing finances
• Housing and homelessness
• Befriending or support groups
• Social and creative activities
• Benefits advice
• Help with issues like mild depression and anxiety
• Training and volunteering opportunities
• Activities around health and keeping physically active
The council has also adopted new software which enables officers and the public to search a directory of activities near to them by topic.
If residents would like to use the directory themselves, but don't feel they need an appointment with a Community Connector, they can access it here: https://services.thejoyapp.com/
The Community Connectors are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on 01946 598300.
Ms Williamson added: "The new software is an amazing opportunity for third sector organisations, residents and health professionals. It will work as a one-stop digital shop for both residents and referring agencies."