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Volunteers are set to play an important role in delivering community support in Medway.

As part of a new scheme, money is to be invested in community organisations and trained volunteers are to provide enhanced support to older people and adults with disabilities.
Medway is one of seven councils in England involved in the programme set up by community interest company, Developing Empowering Resources in Communities, also known as DERiC.

Social investment bank, Big Society Capital, has loaned DERiC £1million to invest in community organisations, set up to support people who receive personal care budgets.
Personal care budgets are given to eligible people by local authorities and the NHS to enable them to have choice and control over the support they receive.

This can include anything from personal care, support with daily living, or needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.

There are now four DERiC schemes in Leeds, one in Sandwell, Birmingham, one in Belfast, and one in Medway.

Together these programmes cover 3,000 people who are eligible to receive support.
The schemes draw in community supporters – local, trained volunteers who will provide appropriate support to people receiving personal budgets, enhancing their care and support arrangements.

The pilots in Leeds and Belfast showed a 25 per cent increase in personal contact for older people and vulnerable adults which is an important element of how we as a society address social isolation and loneliness.

Many councils applied to be part of the scheme and Medway Council will be running the programme in conjunction with Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG).

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “We are delighted to have been selected to be part of DERiC. The organisers particularly liked that we have the CCG as close partners and also recognised the council’s strong links with volunteers.

“The scheme is set to increase the level of care offered to the people of Medway, and for it to be available to them at less cost.”

Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG said: “We are delighted that Medway has been chosen as one of the first areas in the country to make much greater use of volunteers to enhance the care and support for those people who have a personal care budget, and we are looking forward to working with Medway Council to drive this forward.”

The initiative aims to provide support for at least 60 per cent of those eligible for support over the next three years.

In addition to those people, a further 1,500 who are not eligible for statutory support, but who are identified as needing support, will be helped by the scheme.

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The NHS wants to hear your views on fertility treatment. National guidance on the assisted conception services has been reviewed nationally and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is keen to hear what local people think. The survey, which covers Kent, Medway and Sussex, will run until 12 August.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently reviewed its clinical guidance on fertility, which was last published in 2004. As a result, CCGs need to review decisions about how best to meet the assisted conception needs of people across the local area. As part of the review, CCGs will consider the new NICE recommendations, local capacity and resources, population needs and the views and experiences of local clinicians and patients.

The survey asks respondents for their views on:
• treatment referral
• options for same-sex couples, people with physical disabilities or psychosexual problems, and
• fertility preservation for patients undergoing treatments which may affect their future chance of conception, such as chemotherapy.

The questionnaire is open to people across Kent, Medway and Sussex. To take part in the survey, visit: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk. The questionnaire is available until 12 August 2013.

To open the survey click HERE

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