Medical centre launches bid to build community network

Dr Alex Rainbow at Steyning Medical Practice. Picture: Stephen Goodger S05582H13

A doctor is leading a campaign to build a community-wide network to help tackle loneliness and isolation.

The aim is to link Steyning Medical Practice with the various clubs and groups in the district, so there is a more co-ordinated approach when people need support.

Dr Alex Rainbow led a brainstorming event at the Steyning Centre, where nearly 100 residents from various groups and societies debated ways they could work with the practice to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable and frail people.

Attendee Mike Kelly said: “At a time when the NHS is experiencing severe financial shortages, it was a timely intervention. Isolation and loneliness can affect anyone, young or old.”

Social prescribing is being considered to encourage people to take part in activities in the area. Dr Rainbow said it was often necessary to help people to link with the community, so he envisaged a social prescriber working within the health centre in future.

The district is in a superb position, with a wide range of clubs supported by Steyning Parish Council, a mini-bus service and Good Neighbour schemes in operation, but Dr Rainbow felt these should be mapped more completely, so they could be used better and more efficiently. He said the parish council was ‘well motivated’ to support these efforts.

Steyning and District Community Partnership has, in fact, just started a project to compile a directory.

Director Reina Alston explained: “The information leaflet will give contact details of our local clubs that are involved in providing numerous activities within the community.

“These will include support and care for those in need and frail, special amenities, hobbies and past times, social outings, mother and baby groups, etc.

“The list is rather long. However, it will all be worth it, as having a publication where you can find as many contact details as possible in one place would be really good news.”

Relevant groups should send their contact details by email to steyningsouthdowns@gmail.com

Discussion groups have been tasked with identifying reasons why people do not use the facilities available and knowledge of the existence of groups has already been given as a key factor.

The annual Steyning Showcase, organised by the parish council to promote groups in the area, will be held at the Steyning Centre on February 24.

More from News