New partnership aimed at providing health services and social care is being launched in Sudbury

Sudbury Town centre

Sudbury Town centre - Credit: Archant

An ambitious project to ensure that Suffolk people remain healthy and independent for as long as possible is being launched in the Sudbury area.

The Connect initiative brings together police, health and social care services, county and district councils, the voluntary sector and community organisations to provide people with the help and advice they need to look after themselves.

Connect is initially focusing on Sudbury and its surrounding areas and aims to have workable services shaped by the local community by the end of summer.

After checking that it works safely and efficiently, the principles of the project will be rolled out by working with communities around other market towns.

The idea for the project was shaped last year during Suffolk’s Health and Care Review, which looked at how more ‘joined-up’ health and social care services could improve people’s quality of life. It is part of a programme to meet the demands of an ageing population and an increase in long-term health conditions, all of which are putting additional strain on the county’s health and social care services.

Local people and organisations who took part in this review acknowledged the need for services that work together to deliver seamless care. Ed Garratt, chief operating officer for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, is chairing the Connect partnership board.

He said: “It is very early days. All of the local groups and statutory organisations who work with or look after people, recognise that by pooling our efforts we will be able to support individuals better.”

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Shirley Moore, CEO of the Sudbury-based Befriending Scheme, who is also on the partnership board said: “We have a wealth of experience in the voluntary sector with an army of dedicated volunteers who have made so many people’s lives better. Linking with statutory bodies can only strengthen the work we do.”

Fellow board member Sally D’alton, vice chairman of Sudbury WATCH and former nurse, said: “Sudbury WATCH played a key part in the development of the new community health centre, and we are supporting this project.”

Sudbury councillor Nigel Bennett, who is Babergh District Council’s lead member for communities, said he was delighted the project was being trialled in Sudbury and could be rolled out across Suffolk.

He added: “Babergh remains convinced that by working together with colleagues, across many different organisations, we can develop fit-for-purpose services that really add to people’s health and wellbeing.”

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