'We are giving people the chance to get their care from someone in the local community' - new scheme making a difference in Somerset villages

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 May 2017

The scheme helps people give back to their local community by helping those in need at home.

The scheme helps people give back to their local community by helping those in need at home.

Archant

A scheme in Somerset which enables local people to look after those in need is proving to be a huge success, and continues to grow - something organisers say is 'very rewarding'.

Community Catalysts is a small social enterprise and community interest company which works closely with Somerset County Council to design and manage workshops and programmes for people who are keen to give something back to the community, in terms of health and social care.

One of the villages where the scheme has enjoyed most success is Cheddar, where a number of people have been interested in moving into health and social care and helping someone at home, rather than in a hospital or at a doctor’s surgery.

Rhys Davies is the Somerset project co-ordinator for health and social care and told the Mercury this all started with Somerset County Council struggling with the uptake in direct payments.

Direct payments are handed to people so they can choose exactly what care they want in their own home, or elsewhere.

However, there were limited options in the county and so this is where community catalysts decided to try to help.

Mr Davies said: “The sort of care which would work for me may not work for someone else and that is what this is about.

“We want to keep people independent while also allowing local people to do something they may not be able to do.

“We also make sure the legal side of all health and social care is sorted for people as you have to be so careful.

“But we are not saying it is for everyone, we are saying it gives people the chance to get their care from someone in the local community.

“It is really rewarding and I have met some great people who have found something they want to do.

“I would say more than 50 per cent of them are over 50 years old, but it is a great thing for anyone to do and we are there to try to change the way health and social care is in the local area.”

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