Sophie Gray, Mental Health Commissioner, tells us why NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southwark Council commissioned us to deliver the Southwark Wellbeing Hub

NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southwark Council commissioned the Southwark Wellbeing Hub in response to a national drive towards personalisation and integration of services. This involves combining local health and social care budgets to take a coordinated approach to meeting people’s full range of support needs – including mental, physical, social, educational and spiritual.

We needed a delivery partner who could develop a preventative and flexible service for local people experiencing problems with their wellbeing. We wanted people to be able to connect with others and navigate local resources in order to get the help they needed, when they needed it.

We chose Together because their approach is very innovative and forward thinking. They not only respond to someone’s immediate needs but focus on achieving longer term outcomes. People are supported to direct their support which is tailored to their specific needs. More choice and control aims to give people the confidence and tools to self-manage and stay well. Together is an advocate of using lived experience to support people on their recovery journey. They offer the option of peer support for those who wish to share their experiences with someone who has ‘been in their shoes.’

We chose Together because their approach is very innovative and forward thinking

How does the Wellbeing Hub differ from other local services? It acts as a central contact point connecting people with other services in Southwark. It offers a wide range of support, in a variety of formats, to meet a broad range of local needs. People can access information over the phone, online or in person – either at the Hub or one of its pop-ups in the local community.

If someone needs in-depth support they can access regular one-to-one support. The Hub also offers a series of groups and activities that people can join in with – from art, to walking, to peer support. In addition, it runs a series of ‘wellbeing’ workshops, developed with local partners, which aim to teach people self-management skills so they can live more independently. These range from anxiety management and mindfulness, to challenging stigma and maintaining physical health.

Whether someone wants advice on healthy eating, sleep and exercise, managing finances and housing, or is in crisis and needs to access urgent statutory support – the Wellbeing Hub can help.

Together has done a fantastic job of building local relationships with different organisations and groups. They are very inclusive and innovative when it comes to collaborating and drawing together health and social care provision.

We’ve had great feedback from local people who have used the service

The Wellbeing Hub is visibly based in the heart of the local community in Peckham which is great for engaging people, who often drop-in when walking past. People can talk with someone about their needs straight away.  They may have to return to the Hub to be matched with a support worker or peer supporter, but that first contact is immediate.

Working with a charity provider like Together helps to engage people at grass roots level, using more informal models of support which can help reduce stigma. People have told us that support workers and peer supporters are very approachable, flexible and knowledgeable about local provision. They are very well placed to provide timely and practical support which can help reduce distress. Support offered in this way is more personal and allows people to set their own goals and get back to the life they want to lead in the community.

We’ve had great feedback from local people who have used the service so far. One lady told us that working with someone who had a similar experience has helped her to feel less anxious about leaving the house.  Another said that The Hub has helped him to feel less isolated, that it “helps people to get to the right place, pushes and rings on their behalf to get things done, saving stress and worry”.