Hard to reach??

The term ‘Hard 2 Reach’ raises 2 questions? If you do not know about it how can you use it? Once you have the information, can you engage with it? The driver behind delivery of health and social care services, in London (local level, including both Inner and outer boroughs) seems to be towards transferring the commissioning, procurement process to Local Authorities and NHS Family organisations, using a mix of methods and involving other community led voluntary organisations.

Recent engagement between public, private, community and voluntary sector organisations can only be seen as a positive move. Mechanisms such as Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP’s), Local Area Agreements (LAA’S) and the newly launched LiNKS have been created to encourage positive relationships between parties and input from users. Combined with COMPACT working methods – we should all be viewing a community delivered health service that is effective and the term’Hard2Reach’ should refer to how to improve and refine communication to those most in need patients, carers and others who are marginalised and have difficulty accessing services about the support that is available within their own local area.

UBS (Universal Beneficent Society) has set its objectives for its beneficiaries, in terms of voluntary services, based around offering the extended hand of friendship and support. To enable UBS to stand a chance of achieving any of its goals, it has been necessary to form a collective Hard2eachForum, covering inner and outer London.

This Forum has Discussing, Learning and Networking between organisations at its grass roots and has created a 2nd tier forum, working top down to those that are hard2reach for organisations to benefit from quite simply knowing more about each others organisations working practices, sharing specialist knowledge and services. Volunteers and the support required for them to enhance much needed services are a large part of this Forum’s current work. Big national charities, small community voluntary organisations, local organisations charities are engaged. Local NHS PCTs and Trusts have been invited, but declined – due to work loads.

UBS beneficiaries, almost 400 in London, are all over 65, living in their own homes and significantly below the poverty line. They have difficulty accessing services and are marginalised for a variety of reasons chronic health conditions, depression and lack of support affects them at various times – UBS is there to help them.

As a charity existing since 1857, Charles Dickens was one of our founders, we are constitutionally independent from the state, but we work at the sharp end of the issues involved. Hard2Reach Forums are the tools of improved service delivery and the much needed catalyst to improve working relations between charities, public, community and private sectors – all use volunteers and volunteer delivered support, which is a comprehensive service, impacting on the volunteer as well. We need to firstly be aware of what other services are on offer near to us, organise networks and support each other – We need to collaborate effectively for the common good.

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