Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

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Volunteers praised for efforts to spread self-care message to older people

Community volunteers who have helped to spread health and wellbeing advice to hundreds of older people in Newcastle and Gateshead have been honoured at a celebration event.

presentation photograph


20 self-care advocates have been recruited by NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the last year, for a new initiative to share tips for keeping healthy and well as an older person and raising awareness of the different services available to them, as part of wider plans to transform health and care services in the area.

The five week programme has been delivered in partnership with the North of England Mental Health Development Unit (NEMHDU) and since launching has allowed eight volunteers to spread awareness about future changes to health and care services to over 300 older people living in Gateshead, as part of the area’s Care Home Programme.

A further 12 volunteers have recently started their training this month to further develop the scheme across Newcastle and Gateshead.

Marilyn Young, 67, who volunteered for the programme, said: “Sometimes people don’t like to cause a fuss or feel they are being a burden on services if they’re feeling under the weather. On this programme I can learn more about how to help myself and at the same time spread the message to friends and family of ways to keep well and what health services are available to them.

“The most rewarding part is giving older people the confidence and knowledge of the different NHS services available so that they don’t hesitate to seek advice if they need it – and are more aware of their own health so that when they do seek medical opinion, they feel more in control to make informed decisions.”

Dr Dan Cowie, Clinical Lead for Transformation at NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG presented the certificates to the volunteers at the event at the Sage Gateshead. He said: “We are already seeing the positive impact this initiative is having in Gateshead, with over 300 people attending sessions ran by the volunteers and we look forward to having the same success in Newcastle.”

“There is a lot of work underway to transform services for older people, and this is a real opportunity to get involved and help to shape our services. It’s a fantastic accomplishment and will help to improve quality of life for many older people in Newcastle and Gateshead.”
The self-care advocates initiative is part of the Care Home Programme, which is backed by NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG and Gateshead Council, and was one of only six areas nationally to secure support from NHS England’s New Models of Care programme to transform care home and other services for older people locally.

The programme’s achievements to date have included reducing emergency hospital admissions among Gateshead’s care home residents by 14%. It is now working to raise awareness of its work in Newcastle.

To find out more about how to become involved in the Care Home Programme, email Lindsay.gibbins@nhs.net or phone 0191 2172881.