Reconnections help improve physical and mental wellbeing of adults across Worcestershire

Worcestershire County Council continues to invest more money into Adult Social Care year-on-year, helping the county’s vulnerable adults to live healthier, more fulfilled lives, and live independently for longer.
Angela and Malcolm who benefitted so greatly from the Reconnections service.
Published Thursday, 6th June 2019

Worcestershire County Council continues to invest more money into Adult Social Care year-on-year, helping the county’s vulnerable adults to live healthier, more fulfilled lives, and live independently

In a similar trend as other local authorities across the country, Adult Social Care has been the County Council’s biggest spend for many years now.

Nearly £140 million was allocated from this year’s budget to help meet the county’s ever-rising demand for adult social care – more than 40 per cent of the Council's annual budget.
With people living longer than ever before, the County Council is committed to working with communities and its partners to enable Worcestershire residents to make responsible choices when planning their lives to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Intervention at the most appropriate point to provide tailored help and support to individuals as and when they need it, to ensure they remain independent for longer, is a key focus for the County Council.

Angela and Malcolm moved to Worcestershire in 2016 and, not knowing anyone else in the area, Angela was feeling down and lonely as Malcolm was still working.

Angela couldn’t get out and about on her own, as she relied on Malcolm and her wheelchair to get around.

Angela and Malcolm had heard about the Reconnections programme, commissioned by Worcestershire County Council and run by Age UK to tackle loneliness and isolation in Worcestershire, and they referred themselves for this free service.

Reconnections covers the whole of Worcestershire and aims to reduce older people’s feelings of loneliness by reconnecting them with interests, sharing skills and activities in their local communities.

Through Reconnections, Angela found out about a Moodmaster (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course run by Simply Limitless, a health and wellbeing charity in North Worcestershire, which she enrolled on to.

They both also started going to the Mega Movers exercise class, specifically designed for over 50s with low mobility.

As a result, they met more people and made new friends. Thanks to the exercise class, Angela’s health has improved.

Angela said: "I used to sleep all day but now I have more energy. I also don't need my wheelchair as much now – something I never could have dreamt of!"

For both Angela and Malcolm, their medication has reduced too. Through the exercise and walking football sessions that feature as part of the exercise class, Malcolm’s diabetes symptoms have significantly reduced.

Seeing the difference that the service made to their personal lives, this encouraged the couple to become proud Reconnections volunteers themselves. 

They now help to support other people across the county who are isolated and lonely.

Malcolm said: "We really enjoy seeing what Reconnections can do for people - we see the difference it makes and we love it!"

Worcestershire’s ageing population and an increasing financial pressure on health and social care creates a need to better support older people in their own communities, to help them live more independent lives.

By connecting people to those around them, they can stay happier and healthier for longer.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Angela and Malcolm’s story, is just one example of the fantastic work that groups like Reconnections carry out to combat loneliness and improve the quality of life for people across the county. This is just one success story that showcases the support that is available to help the people of Worcestershire have long, enjoyable, healthy and extended lives, and to help them to stay independent for as long as possible.”

Councillor Hardman, alongside social care practitioners, are hosting tailored engagement events for residents throughout the summer.

The ‘Making a Decision’ events are designed to help residents kick-start the conversation around what you can do to stay independent, the tools and technology available to provide support, and discussing with friends and family your individual preferences regarding care, support and treatment in later life.

For more information and further event dates, please visit the making decisions about your future pages of the Council's website.