Project Smith – helping with health

21 September 2017

Written by: Fraser Serle, Lambeth NHS

Focus on Brixton - Focus on Stockwell - Focus on Streatham - Health and Wellbeing

Project Smith is about Lambeth residents working with NHS Lambeth and Lambeth Council, recognising that the community and people are the assets and key to good health and wellbeing.

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Project Smith – helping with health

Three aims

 Project Smith has three main aims

  • To support people to manage their own health and wellbeing (or condition) with access to the right information and assistance.
  • To help people especially those living independently) avoid a crisis, or minimise it.
  • To build stronger community ties.

Project Smith is already in eight wards, aligned with three Local Care Networks (LCNs). In an LCN health and social care services, local individuals and voluntary groups work together.

History of the project

  • In 2015/16 Project Smith started in Vassall and Coldharbour wards in the South East LCN
  • During 2016/17 it expanded into Stockwell, Larkhall and Ferndale wards (North).
  • During 2017/18 it is expanding into Streatham Hill, Streatham Wells and St Leonards in the South West LCN

Two-pronged approach

Lambeth Wellbeing Fund – small grants scheme for local people and groups

Organisations and individuals can apply for funding to run events or activities to:

  • improve health and wellbeing
  • connect isolated people
  • help create healthier communities

Activities must take place in Lambeth. The fund is managed by the London Community Foundation. People said:

  • ‘The community spirit was wonderful’
  • ‘We created a safe space for people to express all they were feeling’
  • ‘I improved my writing’

 Community Connectors – signposting people to services

Connectors get four days’ free training and get qualified (Level 2 in Understanding Behaviour Change accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health). Community Connectors also meet monthly for supervision – going ‘on safari’ to local organisations and learning about their services. Community Connectors said:

  • “I had become more socially isolated than I was comfortable with when my children started school and I hadn’t yet gone back to work. Since becoming a connector last year, I have helped others, made new friends, feel better about myself, and even found some job opportunities through networking,” – Mary
  • “I have learned so much through the connectors programme – I feel like a walking/talking community notice board” – Charlotte.

Get training and find out more

The next Community Connectors training course is 4 days between 27 September and 10 October. You must live in Lambeth.

To find out more about Project Smith please email Fraser Serle of Project Smith