Voluntary, community and social enterprise Partners

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Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations play an important role in improving the health and care of people in local communities.

They help the Integrated Care System to make decisions that reflect people’s needs. They also deliver services for people across our area, often for people who would otherwise not get the help they need. In doing so, they help to reduce health inequalities in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

VCSE Role in COVID-19 response

The whole of the Integrated Care System has worked together during the Coronavirus pandemic.

VCSEs were critical in making sure that people had the right support during the crisis. Their volunteers offered practical support for isolated people, such as those with disabilities and the elderly.

Volunteers offered emotional support to those experiencing mental health issues. They worked with vulnerable communities to ensure they could access information, social connections and meet their basic food, shelter and their health and wellbeing needs.

VCSEs strengthen strategic decision making. They help to shape how we deliver services and reach those most at risk of poor health outcomes and reduced life expectancy.

Our Communities Together Programme

Our Communities Together Programme works with the VCSE sector.

The programme helps to make changes. It identifies new opportunities for VCSE sector organisations to help shape services and decision making. It gives the VCSE the chance to challenge the way health and care works so that services are more inclusive and accessible.

Funding Opportunity to Help Reduce Health Inequalities

£3.2m has been made available to BLMK ICS for tackling inequalities for 23/24 and we hope this will continue for 24/25. The ICB Board has supported the proposal, created by the ICS Inequalities leadership group, to allow part of this funding for projects linked to the NHS health inequalities framework Core20+5 for the amount of circa. £400k for 2024/2025. This form sets out the process to submit a proposal, including an application form.

  • The deadline for applications is 5pm on 2nd February 2024.
  • Bids are expected to be within the range of £20,000 – 80,000, with slight flexibility following evaluation.
  • Applications must be submitted via emailing [email protected]

Further information about the Core20Plus5 frameworks to reduce health inequalities can be found for –

BLMK ICB is still learning from the process of allocating money across the system for inequalities and is still learning from previous years. This process and application form is therefore to be considered as a way of testing what works for the BLMK system, and how we can improve on future years; we will incorporate a process for feedback and evaluation as part of this process to continually improve.

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