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Community / New charity helps people make empowering care connections

Service manager Helen Robinson. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

A NEW charity that helps people finding individually tailored care and support services officially launched on Friday.

Shetland Community Connections, based at Market House, has been awarded over £250,000 of Scottish Government money to empower people to make better informed decisions on their own care, and maximising their choice and flexibility in the care and support their receive.

The funding, announced in June last year, was part of a £7.2 million package to 31 organisations across Scotland under the Support in the Right Direction programme.

Newly appointed service manager Helen Robinson said the approach was centred on the idea of self-directed support, ensuring that people who require care or support are engaged, informed, included and empowered to make choices about their support.

“It is about moving away from care and support being provided simply by the local authority; it is about giving people the power and control for themselves to decide how the service they receive looks and how it is managed,” she said.

For example, those who are receiving care at home through the local authority’s social care department could opt out of some aspect of the care they are entitled to and employ a personal assistant to receive that care when it suits them best.

“It gives people much more flexibility and much more choice about their lives, it gives them a greater degree of freedom,” Robinson said.

People opting out of some aspects of local authority delivered services are entitled to receive ‘direct payments’ from the government to enable them to employ a personal assistant.

This, Robinson said, would reduce the workload and pressure care services are under, while empowering clients to make their own choices and live more independently at the same time.

While helping to make the current social care more flexible and more personal is one of the main areas Shetland Community Connections will be working in, it’s overall remit is wider to include everyone who has additional support needs.

To help people make connections in all walks of life, the charity is looking for connectors who will be employed to help and enable people creating a better life for themselves.

The service the charity provides is free of charge and is offering support to people of all ages, children, families, adults and older people, Robinson said.

She can be contact on telephone 01595 745091 or via e-mail: communityconnections@shetland.org

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