The much anticipated launch of the innovative IMPACTAgewell programme, packed a punch in terms of showcasing the achievements of 2017 Queen’s  Voluntary Service Award-winner  the local Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) has had in securing a £1 million investment from Dunhill Medical Trust to support older people in partnership with a wide range of agencies.

Opened by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Mayor, Audrey Wales, wished to “congratulate MEAAP and partners, whom had successfully collaborated to design and secure such a prestigious and competitive funding opportunity…which would go far to prove how the community & voluntary sector have a vital role in not only representing the voice of older people but also contributing to the ongoing community planning process.”

The launch, not only featured a range of presentations on the IMPACTAgewell model, but also provided much food for thought using musical chairs to showcase how hard it is to navigate a complex health and social care system for everyone, especially older people.

The issue of medications was again creatively highlighted using pass the parcel, whereby boxes of medication had been labelled, filled with sweets but also included a commonly asked question by older people highlighting that often it is the simple of things that can help older people overcome barriers in terms of being empowered to manage their own health conditions.

With thanks to the funding support of Dunhill Medical Trust, MEAAP have developed 6 local health and wellbeing hubs, partnering with 6 GP Practices, PACT Community Pharmacists and staff from the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.  These local hubs, anticipate supporting over 1,100 older people over the next 3 years to develop a personalised action plan which will set health related goals including connecting in with local community activities via social prescriptions.

MEAAP Project Coordinator, Deirdre McCloskey, went on to explain how unique the initiative is – “MEAAP is a charity set up in 2011 to represent older people and local older people groups – and we have been working hard over the last 4 years as part of our core Ageing Well & Reaching Out Programme to empower communities and Age Champion volunteers to deliver a wide range of activities to support older people in our community.”

“We are delighted that Dunhill Medical Trust recognised the need to invest in our local groups and MEAAP aim to invest over £300,000 of the funding awarded to invest in partnerships with at least 36 local community/voluntary sector groups whom will deliver social prescriptions – activities like luncheon clubs, walking groups, health condition support groups, arts/crafts etc – all of which are examples of care in the community, by the community.”

Representing the Northern Local Commissioning Group, Bride Harkin said: “Research has shown that social needs such as loneliness transport and literacy can have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of older people in the community.  This new model, delivered in true partnership with health care practitioners and commissioners, will enable more older people living at home to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”

Susan Kay, Executive Director of the Dunhill Medical Trust noted “We’re very excited to see that a concept our Trustees and staff have long supported has a name: it’s looking as if “social prescribing” is coming of age.  But we know that because it’s fundamentally about people, one size very definitely doesn’t fit all.  We also know that you wouldn’t prescribe drugs and expect a pharmacist to provide them for free.   MEAAP’s people-centred and flexible approach and realistic and practical model meant that the decision to provide financial support was made very easy for us.  We are very much looking forward to working with MEAAP to spread the word and ultimately, change the lives of older people for the better.”

 

For further information on MEAAP, please contact Deirdre McCloskey, MEAAP Coordinator on 028 2565 8604 or email info@meaap.co.uk.