There’s no doubt that with the arrival of a new baby comes added pressure on families and carers. Those tasked with the responsibility of giving a child the best start can often feel overwhelmed, socially isolated and under pressure both financially and in their personal relationships.
A new and innovative programme is being launched in the Halton area, which is funded by the Innovation Agency. It is designed to help families feel more equipped to deal with the challenges ahead and further develop their resilience.
It builds on the Baby Box programme launched in October 2016 which is building baby box communities across Cheshire and Merseyside. The new dimension, adding to the existing overall project, is innovative social prescribing technology. This technology will help parents/ carers to access specific support relevant to them in their local community including exercise, health cooking classes and family support groups to reduce social isolation and improve their health and wellbeing, providing a positive support network for their families.
Halton CCG, Improving Me Vanguard and Tech 4 Good company, Elemental Software, are partnering in this flagship parent support project which combines 3 innovations to form the overall family support project; Baby Boxes, Baby Box University Platform and Elemental’s Social Prescribing Software.
Catherine McClennan, Programme Director for the Women’s and Children’s Services Partnership Vanguard, ‘Improving Me’, says “There is so much support available for parents and caregivers which is great but it is fragmented and women can often feel overwhelmed and unsure of which will be most relevant to them. Our programme is all about improving experiences through collaboration and care at a time when women are feeling most vulnerable. This partnership with Elemental Software will provide an opportunity to further help women and their families outside of their traditional maternity care.
“Women and families have told us that they don’t always know what is available or where and when to access it, so we hope to empower them to ensure that they are fully informed, engaged and encouraged to be as healthy as possible in pregnancy, birth and beyond.”
Elemental Software is led by two female co-founders, Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff. After working in social development for over a decade, they saw the opportunity to develop technology that connects community health and social care by upscaling and measuring the impact of the social prescribing model of care. Their social prescribing software enables health and social care professionals to connect, measure, support and evaluate social prescribing programmes.
Elemental Software’s Leeann Monk comments, “We are taking the social prescribing model of care to the next level by implementing a platform that makes it easier for a range of health and social care professionals to make meaningful connections for those who need it most.
As parents ourselves we know too well the challenges faced in welcoming a newborn child into the world and how important it is to know where and when the support is available. This is why we are delighted to work with an innovative Clinical Commissioning Group and Vanguard, with Halton CCG. This partnership will see us at the forefront of the earliest intervention stage in a child’s life, better supporting new mothers and fathers on their journey to becoming more educated, informed and engaged in the support contributing to healthier outcomes for them and their baby.”
Innovation Agency Commercial Director Lorna Green said: “We can see the potential of this system for improving people’s lives by connecting them with all the support that’s available in their local community. We are delighted to play a part in delivering this innovative project for Halton.”
Hear more about this social innovation designed to empower families at the King’s Fund Social Prescribing Event on 18 May 2017. Dave Sweeney, Director of Transformation and Deputy Chief Officer, NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group is an event speaker and Elemental Software will be demonstrating their social prescribing software at the event.