Oldham wins big at innovation in politics Awards

The THRIVING Communities Programme has won a major international award for their work in local communities.

After facing off against 158 other nominees from around the continent, the Oldham Social Prescribing Innovation Partnership has won in the Community category at this year’s European Innovation in Politics Awards.

This fantastic win comes from the work the Thriving Communities Programme has been doing to build a partnership between public services, healthcare, and the voluntary sector.

Thriving Communities Team

They’ve been recognised for bringing a more holistic, long-term approach to health and well-being, reducing social isolation, strengthening community ties, and helping the people of Oldham access the support they need.

The Social Prescribing Innovation Partnership of Oldham Thriving Communities is the first for the public sector in England. It is a pioneering three-year programme that champions closer cooperation between the more comprehensive public system and the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sectors with partners – Action Together,  Age UK, Positive Steps, Mind Tameside and Glossop and Altogether Better.

Social prescribing is a new social measure, where health professionals refer patients to support in the community to improve their health and wellbeing.

The approach is all based around community strengths.

Community development workers work alongside social prescribers to get to know the local community in their area to create a network of supporting groups. This becomes the touchpoints of the local social prescribing network.

This network aims to create the best possible service by connecting people in the health and care system, identifying a non-medical need and connecting people to community activities such as gardening, cookery, arts clubs and sports as a means to improve health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

Oldham Council Leader Sean Fielding Said: “We are really pleased to receive the prestigious Innovation in Politics Award and international recognition for our Thriving Communities programme and Social Prescribing Innovation Partnership.

“Oldham is incredibly proud of our community strengths, partnership working and the proactive active role we take in supporting the wellbeing of local people. Getting to residents earlier in the care pathway to target ‘more than medical’ need is our real #teamoldham approach.

“It’s great to see Oldham highlighted on a European platform like this considering the strong competition of almost 400 other great projects and we would like to thank all the judges that voted for us.”

Rebekah Sutcliffe, Strategic Director of Reform, Oldham Council said: “This is a great example of partnership and collaboration with the voluntary sector in Oldham which are really proud of to improve services and create Thriving Communities”

Peter Pawson, Principal Consultant and Thriving Communities Programme Lead said: “This has been a real 3 year undertaking to get to this point for all our partners; local government, health and voluntary sector – right down to grass-roots community groups who support our residents day to day.

“I believe whole system health and care transformation can only be delivered through strong partnership working, pragmatic programme approach and bravery to try something new which is something that Oldham and Greater Manchester fosters.

“Receiving this international recognition is a welcome endorsement of the approach and work from the team.”

The awards were hosted by the Innovation in Politics Institute, based in Vienna, and organised by the royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce (RSA) in the UK. The winners were chosen by a citizens’ jury of over 1000 people from across Europe.

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