Partnership deal between NHS and voluntary organisations set to benefit local residents

Partnership deal between NHS and voluntary organisations set to benefit local residents image

Home » Partnership deal between NHS and voluntary organisations set to benefit local residents

People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are set to benefit from a new contract signed by the local NHS and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

The Integrated Care Board, which is responsible for planning and delivering health care for one million residents in the local area, has signed a formal agreement which sets out how it will work in partnership with charity and community groups to improve the health of people living in Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

At a ceremony at the Luton All Women’s Centre yesterday (Tuesday 16 May), the organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding, a written agreement in which they commit to work together.

The VCSE sector is made up of charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, faith groups, and social enterprises, many of which have a long track record in promoting engagement and finding creative ways to improve outcomes for groups with the poorest health, making them essential partners for the NHS in addressing health inequalities and improving health outcomes.

Felicity Cox, chief executive officer of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK ICB), said:

“Our ambition is to help people in our area live longer lives, in good health. The NHS has a long and proud tradition of using innovative technology and care to treat disease, but if we want to make a difference to people’s lives, we need to tackle the root causes of poor health as well.

“In our area, the VCSE is working in our communities to provide mental health support, housing, debt advice, help for people with learning and physical disabilities and working to help people live independently and stay active.

“By working together and pooling our resources we have a greater opportunity to transform lives and so I’m excited to have joined partners today to sign this important partnership agreement.”

She added:

“In the past twelve months, we’ve already started to work with the VCSE to deliver schemes locally to better support local communities. we’re already starting to see brilliant local initiatives, led by brilliant people – delivering brilliant results – but I’m confident that this is just the start and I look forward to seeing how our partnership develops to benefit local people and communities.”

Examples of joint work with the VCSE sector in the last year, since the ICB was formed on 1 July 2022, include:

  • Through work with the Bedfordshire Rural Charities, local people are able to access programmes to tackle social isolation, obesity and mental health issues.
  • Via the YMCA in Milton Keynes, those who are victims of serious violence are being reached through the Hospital Navigator scheme, with 14 young people are already being helped to turn their lives around.
  • The Suicide Prevention Community Grant scheme is helping to provide support to children and young people who have been affected by suicide.
  • Mental health crisis cafés are in place across the area, with partners from BLMK Mind and NHS trusts working together to help people in times of crisis.
  • The Working Together Leighton Buzzard team is supporting people with dementia to live well in the community.
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