Social worker John

John McDonald, a social worker in Trafford, has taken the time to explain the important role Link Workers play.

“I work closely with Sarah, Trafford’s Adult Social Care Link Worker, to support people to live happily and healthily.

Sarah’s role is proving to be vital. I turn to Sarah for advice and information on the local community, especially when working with clients who need support but do not meet the eligibility criteria for a commissioned service (a service that is social care funded and only available to those who meet certain criteria under the Care Act). This means that we help these clients access groups, organisations and activities that are open to everyone.

Together, we helped a lady who had developed anxiety around leaving her property. She was scared to leave because there had been a number of break-ins when she wasn’t at home. She hadn’t been out for a long time and clearly needed support.

Trafford is promoting ‘a strength’s-based approach’, which means we look at what individuals can do rather than focussing on their problems or limitations. Through ‘Let’s Talk’ we concentrate on the individual’s strengths and networks, including those in the local community. This is where the Link Worker role is essential as they identify what community support is available.

Sarah and I met the lady together and discussed how we could help her achieve her goals – she wanted to overcome her anxiety of leaving her house, so she could complete daily tasks, such as food shopping or going to the bank independently. She also wanted to attend social activities to reduce her isolation at home. She had a keen interest in art, and handily lives near Lime Light, a local health, wellbeing and community centre.

Sarah was able to research what groups the lady may enjoy and was able to suggest these to her as well as supporting her to attend. After a few art sessions and with Sarah’s support, the client has gained enough confidence to start attending alone. This boost in confidence flowed in to other areas of the client’s life and her wellbeing is greatly improved. As well as attending the art groups alone she is now going out to other places independently and she has referred herself for some therapeutic support.

Sarah is able to focus on building links with the amazing local community we have here in Trafford. She is feeding this back to the Adult Social Care team for us to be able to use these services for the benefit of all our clients. We’re extremely grateful to Sarah for her support and to the voluntary sector for the wealth of groups, organisations and activities it provides in support of communities across the borough.

Together, we are helping more people live happily and healthily in Trafford.”

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is working with social prescribing services across the region to help them grow and develop. Social prescribing is now available in all ten boroughs. We want it to be as common for health and social care professionals, and other public services, to refer people to support in the community as a GP would refer a patient for a blood test.

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