Community Partnership Project

Spark’s Community Partnership Project is an initiative aimed at working with communities in South Somerset to improve health and wellbeing.

With increasing cuts in public services and charitable organisations expected to deliver more services with limited funding, there is a need for community organisations to work more collaboratively to support their residents' health and wellbeing. We launched the Community Partnership Project in 2016, in response to this need.

In collaboration with voluntary sector organisations, GP practices, and housing and community organisations, we have launched and supported three Community Partnerships in Yeovil, Wincanton and South Petherton.

Alongside these, Matt Day, Spark's Community Partnerships Coordintator, has developed Wellbeing South Somerset - a bespoke Directory of Services. Based on the successful Health Connections Mendip Directory, the directory enables people to access services, support and activities which may improve their wellbeing, quality of life, and self-management of long-term health conditions.

To maximise the availability and impact of this information, we will be running Community Connector Signposting workshops across the district, for anyone who would like to find out how to help their friends, family, colleagues and neighbours to access this information. The details of these workshops can be found on the Events page.

Through these channels, we can help to connect people and health practitioners with local community support across South Somerset.

Case Study: Dementia Friendly Wincanton

"There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and this is expected rise to one million by 2021. One third of people living with dementia do not feel part of their community” Alzheimer’s Society 2016.

Motivated by these statistics, the community of Wincanton drew upon on local support and leadership, including Tom Barber, SPARK's Health & Wellbeing Lead, to take action. As part of his work for the NHS Symphony programme in South Somerset, Tom supported the establishment of a Community Partnership in Wincanton in 2016, which lead to the decision to focus on making Wincanton a dementia friendly town.

A steering group specifically for this work was started, bringing together local people to support the initiative, with the help of the Dementia Action Alliance, and Alzheimer’s Society Somerset. The group's aim is to encourage residents to respect and support local people who are living with dementia, so that they feel socially confident, and able to get involved in their community.

The group decided to concentrate primarily on informing local shops and businesses on the High Street, as well as local key agencies such as the emergency services, library, churches, health centre, schools and leisure facilities. They have successfully embraced the Dementia Friends programme, having delivered over 20 sessions for the public and targeted groups including, resulting in 220 fully trained Dementia Friends in Wincanton.

You can read more about the project here.

Are you Interested in making your community more Dementia Friendly? Email us at support@sparksomerset.org.uk