Connecting with the Health Sector
Blog by Matt Evans, Active People and Place Manager
The children are delighted to be back at school and the teachers have begun their countdown to October half term already! For most of my career, September has been the start of something and as the nights begin to draw in and the temperature drops, we start eagerly preparing ourselves for what spring will bring. Well, this year doesn’t seem too different to that. Over the past few months, I have been working with stakeholders to refine what we do in order to “Connect with Health” as part of the Let’s Move Lincolnshire strategy. Supported by ROC Research Consultancy, I have taken part in close evaluation of the relationships and inter-connected agendas that exist and built my knowledge of the Health System and the new ICS structure. I look forward to sharing this at our stakeholder event in Boston very soon.
Through our Health steering group, supported by Ann Johnson-Brown (ICB) and Sarah Chaudhary (Public Health), we have identified two key pathways to work with; Social Prescribing and Maternity. We have also looked at how the national Active Practice Charter can fit into a local offer in order to celebrate positive work. With Maternity services, I have written a Theory of Change to establish what needs to happen in order to bring the physical activity sector closer and in doing so have generated a list of learning questions that will help us all to understand what it takes to truly embed physical activity within a health pathway. With such groundwork in place, we are now beginning to focus on delivering some change. We are putting the microscope on the East Coast and working-out how to induce physical activity within the pregnant population. For some mums, a walk to the shop might be enough while others may be more inclined to join a PT and do a circuit session. Whatever their interests and levels of competency, we want to make sure we know what support is there and what gaps require filling. This learning will help us to influence decisions in other areas of the county so the 7000 (approx) pregnancies per year receive the same consistent message about physical activity. I want us to be able to celebrate all of that through the Let’s Move platform as more and more stakeholders take ownership of it.
In the Social Prescribing pathway, we continue to be partners in the county steering group, and I enjoy collaborating with partners from the VCSE sector. As we review the programme, we find ourselves with more opportunities to join elements together and will collaborate on recommendations for ways to improve the service. The cost-of-living crisis obviously makes some activities inaccessible to those who need them most. Our focus will therefore be on those physical activities that can be done with minimal expense and can be embedded within other services or provisions. We are fortunate to have ample blue and green spaces that can be a perfect starting place on a journey towards a more active lifestyle so I will be looking to work with Link Workers to unpick the barriers that prevent uptake of physical activities from a system level and also a service user perspective.
I’m delighted that the podcast series “Tales of Two Counties” has been so well received. When Charlie and I were asked to share what we had learnt and the “how” of connecting with health, we didn’t want to produce another slide deck. We had no idea how well our chats would land but in attempt to be brave and innovative we decided to record ourselves talking about something we are passionate about. Whilst episode one set the scene, episode two gave an insight into resourcing and episode three featured a special guest to enable us to discuss Board level conversations. I’m really grateful that Neal from Active Dorset took the time to share with us in such an open and honest way. We have further guests lined up so hopefully we will be able to continue to share our learning under this spotlight and make a celebration of the ongoing work in Lincolnshire.
So, with the kids getting back into routines and bed-times being reestablished, we find ourselves looking forward to another new chapter and the next step on our learning journey.