People need to be able to access a wide range of community assets which are local, flexible and responsive. Through being able to access these resources people can continue to enjoy good quality lives while maximising their independence.
While the use of community assets is part of a broader approach to prevention, these assets are important for the quality of people’s lives whatever period of life they are in. Some people may volunteer and be part of the provision of them while others may use them once in a while but still see them as a key part of being part of a wider community and others will make good use of them.
Community assets are the wide network of services which range from very small, very local services provided by volunteers through to faith groups and community groups, national charities and private companies and businesses. They are all part of the wide network of community assets which provide choice and enable people to engage with others in activities they enjoy and which add meaning to their lives.
In order to deliver this element of the strategy, there needs to be investment in local services. Resources need to be made available for local groups to provide the wide range of support that enables people to remain in the community. This will include support for volunteers to run activities and for micro-enterprises to run services such as personal assistants and day opportunities. There will need to be workers to undertake this work and they too will be based in the community. Essentially, they will be link workers or network workers and their role will be to make the links between formal services and the community assets.
This approach needs to be supported by a broad corporate approach which ensures there is an emphasis on locality working. Similarly, GP practices need to be engaged as do community based health services and mental health services. NHS England has funded Vanguard test sites in England to pilot new models of care that integrate health and care services around the patient. Learning from the Vanguard pilots can be brought into the approach to locality working ensuring there is a partnership of integrated provision across formal care and health services and a diverse range of community assets.