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.

Our Communities Together Programme

Central to BLMK ICB’s approach to delivering its strategic aim to enable all residents to live more years in good health – and support communities to thrive – is the recognition that its is the wider determinants of health that have the greatest influence on the health and well-being of our residents – 80% in fact. VCSE partners have a unique role in engaging, developing and delivering the community resources and networks that support each of us to tackle life’s challenges.

The partnership aims to understand the significant contribution VCSE organisations make in local communities, supporting people to keep well, developing community resilience, and designing services that improve outcomes in groups with the poorest health. It will help us to understand where the VCSE has the potential to do more, to work differently with system partners, and how we overcome barriers in terms of their capacity and the way we (as a system) enable this to happen. The strategic partnership will put the VCSE and the community at the heart of our work as an ICS.

At the centre of where we are now is our landmark Memorandum of Understanding, agreed by the Integrated Care Board in November 2022. This sets out how we work together, put our local communities and residents at the heart of everything we do and establish the values on which our strategic partnership is founded.

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.

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