• Lead Member Torbay Council
  • Participating Members Peopletoo, Torbay Council
  • Year 2021
  • Status Prototype

Principles met

  • We will capture and ‘expand’ the experience and learning from individual projects and approaches in order to encourage broader application of co-operative principles within individual member Councils and across the Network.
  • In exploring new ways of meeting the priority needs of our communities we will encourage models, such as co-operatives and mutuals, which give greater influence and voice to staff and users. in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.

About the project

We used the £1500 funding to pilot creative ways of bringing together community groups in a digital and virtual way to be fully involved in the development and rollout of our new model for Early Help in Torbay.

The involvement of community groups is critical to the success of the new partnership Early Help model, but we recognise that many have little capacity to be attending meetings and that this can compromise opportunities to engage them. Our intention was to remove these barriers to engagement and embrace the new digital ways of working that have been so successful during COVID 19.

We are now engaging with community groups who will form a part of our Early Help Hub Network. These are venues embedded in the community that engage with real people in communities within a safe space that they engage with because of them being a community venue, for example, a café, food bank or community centre (as examples), but can then enter conversations about their needs. We are now working with these organisations to draw them into an overall Hub Network, supported by a Quality Assurance Framework which ensures that some key elements are covered, such as Child Protection Policies and the team being trained in safeguarding. Crucially, however, one of the quality standards will be that these venues are part of our Locality Networks, the purpose of which is to increase people’s knowledge of the services that are out there to support the people with whom they are working. This is a key addition to what these venues are already delivering, as currently, they recognise that they “only know what they know”. Without the £1.5k to support digital engagement, we would not be able to offer this key “added value” to these services e.g. helping them to make even better connections, and would not have connected to them so easily during the pandemic to move us to the stage that we are at.

Ultimately, this work is promoting early help and prevention at a very local community level, reducing the escalation of problems that can lead to family breakdown and children and young people being taken into care.