At Power to Change, we believe that community businesses have a clear role to play in an alternative future for health and social care.
– Susie FinlaysonDevelopment Manager, Power to Change
Over the last week or so there have been two major events exploring an alternative future in health and social care. Our Development Manager, Susie Finlayson, shares some learning from the events and Power to Change’s support for them.
SocialCareFuture, an uplifting, informal, volunteer-led gathering brought together an enormously diverse group of people to discuss alternatives to the future of social care. There was a real sense that things need to be done differently and that much of that will start with and by communities through community enterprises and community businesses. An overriding sentiment of the gathering, held as a fringe to the National Children and Adult Services conference, was the need to move from the ‘us and them’ narrative of service providers and service users to a more collective idea of everyone having strengths and assets that can contribute to a different future. To paraphrase Martin Routledge, who spearheaded the event, it is not enough to simply say “we need more funding.” We must all take responsibility for how we can do things differently.
This was echoed at the New NHS Alliance Summit, which focused on health creation and its link to wealth creation. There was a real understanding on the day around the need to listen to people and understand their needs. This came through strongly in discussions around commissioning and the need to use grants and more flexible approaches to procurement to enable organisations to be responsive to communities’ needs. We spent a large amount of the time discussing assets, both physical and the workforce. Angie Wright from B-Inspired talked about the need for assets to be in community hands, with asset locks in place so that the community has genuine ownership for the long-term. There were challenges raised around use and disposals of buildings and land owned by the health service, and a real feeling that this could work better for health outcomes if different approaches were used. An ambition to work in partnership with NHS Property Services was brought up as a way to achieve this.