Kings Cross Station 0750hrs
The day began bright and early at Kings cross station, fueled by Leon breakfast, coffees and teas we embarked to the North.
As Leeds came into sight the journey had been full of chatter about the possibilities and learning that we would experience throughout the day.
Are we nearly there yet???
Arriving at Leeds we met as a group of 17 strong, setting off to our first stop of the day. This was "Action for Gipton Elderly" where we were kindly hosted by Emma Carter (from leeds City Council) and Karen Woloszczak, they presented the work they did and invited opportunity to debate.
We learnt about asset based community development through the experiences of the service that they provided. They proactively sought out the key members of the community who where already well linked to networks but who may not always be the traditional "go to" person. This allowed them to mobilise the community in a different way, by getting the community to self manage and support each other from their strengths, gifts, connections and knowledge.
There was a small pot of money, given under a European grant, which was used to initiate improvement ideas generated from members of the community, allowing the members to take ownership and control, instilling a sense of community pride. Crucially these efforts cascaded further small projects, ideas or meetings that were not initiated by AGE and have control.
After a lovely lunch put on by Action for Gipton Elderly, it was onto the next stop: Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre.
At Robin Lane we learnt about their commitment to understanding 'what works and how it works' in order to address some of the issues that 'keep them up at night' such as statistics around the rise in dementia or the huge predicted rise in long term conditions. With this commitment and a rich collection of relevant data, some of which is available publicly (such as live waiting times), Robin Lane has made proactive care a core of their business. A brilliant example of this is through proactive weekly visits to care homes, with care plans in place and multidisciplinary meetings at the point of need. This has led to a 25% reduction in unplanned admissions for their care home population with plans to extend this service to the housebound and wider elderly population.
The health centre also owns a separate building, run as a community centre, with a vibrant cafe that hosts evening events-tickets had just sold out for their ukulele concert that evening! There is also a large meeting space for yoga, sling library (baby slings not slinging books) and various other activities. Their notice board is full of things to get involved in. This building is so close to the health centre that when you know you have to wait over an hour to see the doctor, you can 'bob over' to the cafe for a drink while waiting.
All in all there is a great community feel, with a welcoming waiting room playing soothing music, bright walls and airy architecture. It was clear however that this is not just a 'nice place' but a team who take real time data seriously (they are at a stage where they can accurately predict the number of health care staff required at different times of the year) and they continue to push themselves to learn how to do general practice better.
At the end of the visit we all shared one thing that we would take back to our own contexts from our learning that day: an invitation to change.