Creating opportunities for people using support services to
contribute to those around them has a deep impact on their
wellbeing and members of their wider community, according to a new
report released by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP).
The report - Volunteering: unlocking the real wealth of
people and communities -states that people's voluntary and
unpaid contributions are crucial to enabling them and others have
maximum choice and control over their lives.
It has been written in collaboration with In Control, CSV, the
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the
Social Care Institute for Excellence.
It calls for continued development of social action in local
communities and responds to last week's launch of the Government's
Care and Support White Paper, which stresses the value of
supportive communities and community connections to improve
people's health and wellbeing.
The report recommends building on the excellent practice already
going on across England. It includes examples drawn from a range of
government, third sector and private providers that illustrate the
importance of thinking beyond traditional health and social care
services when creating opportunities for volunteering and building
Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus and TLAP's lead
for Building Community Capacity, said:"Volunteering is often seen
as a 'nice' add-on to the 'real work of professionals and experts.
This game changing report recognises that people's gifts, skills
and potential - not just their needs - go to the heart of making
personalised care and support services real. Services should
increasingly focus on helping people to find new ways to shape
communities in which they feel they are valued and belong.
"We recognise the difficulties that reduced funding can bring,
but there is strong evidence that focusing on communities and the
contributions that people can make can result in better health and
wellbeing outcomes, more efficient use of resources and financial
Julie Stansfield, CEO of In Control, said: "This report provides
a useful focus on how we can better mobilise social action within
communities. It highlights how going beyond traditional models and
utilising innovative concepts such as 'real wealth' and 'community
fund holding'- which enable individuals and communities to make the
best use of their assets - can transform individuals from a passive
recipient to active partner."
A copy of the paper can be downloaded for free from Think Local,
Act Personal's website.