Vincent Van Go helps East Suffolk over 65s

Vincent the van with the service delivery team

A van named Vincent is set to revolutionise the way Suffolk’s over 65’s are supported within their community.

Since its launch in May, the Suffolk Family Carers ‘Connected Communities’ project has, until now, been largely confined to the charity’s offices in Claydon.

Known as a ‘social prescribing plus initiative’, the service provides free and confidential support to those over 65 who live in East Suffolk. It helps residents explore ways to improve their health and wellbeing, by talking about options and giving practical advice.

Now, its existing phone and video call appointments will be enhanced with the arrival of a mobile home dubbed Vincent Van Go.

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Named during launch day activities, Vincent is a new mobile home that allows face to face appointments in parts of Waveney and the rural areas around Framlingham, Wickham Market, Woodbridge and Deben. 

Ian McKee, Senior Community Connector, said: “The team and I can now take the social prescribing plus service directly to the people who need it.

“A lot of our conversations are very personal and difficult to carry out via telephone or video call. Vincent allows us to meet face to face in a safe environment that adheres to the Covid guidelines.

“We also put a circle of support around people as we work closely with other agencies with that person to ensure they get the long term support they need in their own communities. It is great that we can finally meet people and to carry out important private conversations.”

By making an appointment with one of the Connected Communities team, individuals can spend time with a highly trained adviser, talking through the issues that matter most. This is especially important at the moment with the continued impact of COVID restrictions impacting people’s lives making them feel more isolated and lonely. 

The initiative is designed to support people find non-clinical ways to improve physical and emotional wellbeing by providing support and by linking those over 65 to services within their local community.

It can also help older people to be less socially isolated by supporting them in their own home, by helping them to connect better with their local communities for example by helping them improve their own personal skills. As an extension of the programme, older people will then be linked to existing social and community groups in their community

Kirsten Alderson, CEO for Suffolk Family Carers, said: “Social Prescribing is an important service for the NHS and Suffolk Family Carers. The arrival of Vincent Van Go is a key step in the development of our service, allowing us to offer face to face appointments with a highly trained local Community Connector.”

If you would like to know more, please contact Suffolk Family Carers on 01473 835477 and ask for the Connected Communities team.  Referrals can also be made via your GP.

Suffolk Family Carers wish to thank MultiSigns of Thetford for helping make Vincent Van Go more visible.

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