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Tackling the blocks to care capacity

Dear Friends

Here at Community Catalysts, we have the pleasure of knowing people like Dawn and Local Social CIC and hundreds and hundreds of others like them. We are privileged to see people creating innovative approaches and ways to help others that look nothing like the handful of accepted, task-based ‘social care services’ as often defined by council commissioners, regulators and others. We see abundance.

Cartoon of a patient in bed with a nurseBut there is a flipside to this development work that is much less joyful. We work alongside councils and health authorities under huge pressure to get people the help that they need. We hear tales of people stuck in hospital or struggling alone unsupported. We talk to amazing care organisations and disabled employers struggling to recruit new staff. We hear discussions about gaps, ‘unmet need’, and the need for ‘market development’. We know people in those discussions only see deficit.

Cartoon saying whatSo, we are puzzled. What the heck is going on? How can all that amazing stuff not be on people’s radars, helping people who need it and filling all those gaps?

We started thinking about this issue in a bit of detail and realised that, in some instances, the gap is actually in the definition and not in ‘provision’. If we define social care as simply personal care…then we narrow that already narrow definition even further and again we squeeze the abundance out of view. At the same time, we narrow the choices and options open to people. In practice, this might mean telling them that their ‘needs’ can’t be met right now when we actually mean…

There isn’t a big CQC regulated homecare agency able to provide the ‘4 calls’ a day we have decided you need.

Or telling people they need to move to a care home when we actually mean…

We don’t have the time, connections or resources to work with you and your family to knit together the creative tapestry of support you will need if you are to stay at home.

Someone very sage once said to me at an event…

Social services spend a huge amount of time and effort trying to stop me having what I didn’t want anyway!

…It was said tongue in cheek but sadly holds more than a grain of truth in some instances.

So, with all this in mind we have developed a little video, one we hope explores the ideas of abundance and deficit through the eyes of fictional folks – Meena who lives in Typical Land and Mavis who lives in Splendid Land…

We hope at the very least it sparks a few reflections and conversations about abundance versus deficit and definition versus provision. Let us know if it strikes a chord.

VIDEO SERIES: Being alongside a Local Area Coordinator

Last month, the Local Area Coordination Network (hosted by Community Catalysts) released individual testimonies from ChrisAshleeDenzilNikkiMemunaWalterMolly and Lauren who passionately shared their journeys with their Local Area Coordinator alongside them.

The new video series  highlights the importance of the trusting relationships formed between a person and their Local Area Coordinator, and shows the positive difference Local Area Coordination is helping to make alongside people, their families, and the wider community. More importantly, the series is a moving testimony to the indomitable power of people to achieve positive change, often in the face of adversity.

Watch the full series

BLOG: People and community enterprises continue to do amazing things in Rotherham

Between 2017 and 2021 Community Catalysts and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) worked in partnership on the Rotherham Community Options Project . The focus of the project was to support local people and groups to develop small enterprises offering innovative, community options for adults with a learning disability – we call these community enterprises. In our blog, we revisit Rotherham to see how the community enterprises we supported to get set up are continuing to have a massive impact!

Read about the impact in Rotherham

NEW APPROACH: Solving problems through Shared Perspectives

Shared Perspectives is a new approach developed by Community Catalysts to use in all sorts of ways, such as to:

  • explore gaps in supports and services and work together to find creative ways to fill them
  • bring together social care, health and community perspectives
  • explore ways that public sector commissioning can be a positive force for change
  • coproduce plans designed to radically disrupt the status quo

Learn more in the video below…

Learn more about Shared Perspectives

Like what you see and want to know more?

If you want to have a chat to find out more, or are interested in working together, get in touch at or 01423 503937.

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