Hubs to identify community needs

PLANS for new community hubs across the county have taken another step forward.

Community hubs – mooted following a review of daytime support in 2009 – are being proposed to provide social care advice and guidance.

Northumberland County Council officials say the hubs will provide an easy access for residents who are eligible for personal budgets to make appointments with support planners directly rather than having to contact the council’s adult services.

Five pilot locations have been identified, including the local authority’s information centre in Cramlington along with libraries at Morpeth, Berwick, Haltwhistle and Amble.

A team of ten dedicated support planners has been in place since last year to help people who receive personal budgets to participate in activities which suit their lifestyle, rather than using specific services such as day care.

It is envisaged that the community hubs will open up other information streams within local libraries and provide a gateway to services such as information on community groups and local events.

Daljit Lally, corporate director for community services and housing, told members of Northumberland County Council’s care and wellbeing scrutiny committee: “The hubs will play a key role in connecting individuals, families and carers to a range of services across the county.

“We are testing out a mix of different models in our pilot locations.

“Depending upon the success of our hubs we could ultimately see this service being offered in all of the council community areas.

“A provisional list of 17 towns and villages has been identified.”

Coun Ian Lindley, executive member for adult care and wellbeing, said: “This initiative is the realisation of the council’s vision which believes adults who have disabilities should feel genuinely included in the community, and be able to make genuine informed choices about the support and activities they want.

“This is a big step forward to achieving this.”