Why is community so important?

In a changing landscape of health and social care, it’s time to forge deeper responses and responsibilities to our communities. Dave Webber, CEO for Livability, takes a look at the year ahead.

I am often struck by the very privileged role our charity plays. Every day, we get to support and share life with a wide range of wonderful people – each with a unique story and particular experience.

As a national charity, Livability provides a broad range of services around the country – each providing a different touchpoint for the people we serve.

Whether its disability services, education and vocational support, brain rehabilitation, church and community engagement work, or our international work, we support up to 1,000 people every day.

The work is rich and varied. But one thing unites it all: The commitment our staff and volunteers share in creating a positive, inclusive and enriching community experience for all we serve.

It’s a commitment that takes a different form wherever you are in Livability.

At Nash College – our Further Education service – Livability works with people with moderate to profound disabilities, equipping people to pursue their goals and aspirations beyond college.

At Icanho – our brain rehabilitation service – Livability supports people recovering from brain injury and get back to their lives as fully as possible within their community.

At our Tower Hamlets Link Church, Livability is resourcing and enabling the work of an active and dynamic community church to respond to a variety of needs within their neighbourhood.

In every provision, we are looking to develop what’s important and special in a place and person; finding the strengths and building blocks in people’s lives and growing opportunities for community.

As I look towards 2016, I am convinced that now, more than ever, it’s time for charities like Livability to really immerse themselves in the needs and strengths of our communities.

As a charity that is a major provider of commissioned services across the UK, we are committed to delivering excellent quality and impact for all we serve. Service delivery is essential and the charity sector is a major provider of much needed care and support in our society.

But we can’t stop at service delivery alone. We need to work harder to extend the reach of each service, by rallying and mobilising communities to care and connect with people in need.

Over the past few years, trends in the health and social care have seen the sectors become increasingly more joined up in provision. The passing of The Care Act and the NHS Future Forward strategy are seeing a far greater emphasis on localisation and personalisation of care.

In part, this is driven by austerity measures and the ever growing financial pressures on our NHS and public services. But this shift is also due to recognition that people’s health and life outcomes fair better when they can participate and flourish within their community.

The changing landscape of health and care are providing far more scope and opportunity for local communities to support people in their own setting and neighbourhood. It’s an opportunity that Livability will really be exploring in the years ahead.

As we journey forwards, we want to create far more connection between our services, church partnerships and community work to provide a more joined up approach to meeting need and care within a community.

We will be seeking to innovate, connecting our services with other offerings within the community; drawing on the talents and expertise of local people, volunteers, practitioners and partners.

As an organisation we are building on a 160-year heritage of social inclusion and community work. Our forefathers John Grooms and Lord Shaftesbury were pioneers of social change in their day. We want to continue in that vein.

It’s time to forge new responses and responsibilities to create more community driven responses to need in our society. I look forward to all that we can do together in 2016.