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drawing of community hub

Community Hubs discussion & Webinar

On Tuesday 21st September at 7pm the Common Weal Care Reform Working Group are hosting a free online zoom event to help further our idea that Community Hubs could and should be central to delivery of social work and social care services.  

Over the past thirty or so years welfare services have become highly bureaucratised and removed from the communities they serve, often replaced at local level by underfunded and insecure 3rd sector organisations. Most social work services provided by Local Authorities through Health & Social Care Partnerships are targeted only at those society believes to be a risk to themselves or others, and the idea of general welfare and prevention has faded from the scene. The pandemic showed that communities have resilience and strengths that come into play when given their place, and Community Hubs became important as locations where help could be easily located and found. That’s a model that is not new, but which could now be revitalised to make the NCS more than just another bureaucracy and layer of government. 

We welcome the idea of a new National Care Service that will provide welfare services to all citizens, including the most vulnerable, from the cradle to the grave. We want to see these free at the point of need, publicly provided (and out of the hands of profiteers) and controlled democratically by the people who use and work in them.  Protocols and joint bureaucracies (HSCPs and Joint Integration Boards) have not been effective in delivering social care; making them bigger with new titles will not change that. That is why we would prefer the NCS to be delivered through democratically accountable Local Authorities by staff who connect at local level with partners in Health, Education and other agencies who serve citizens.

Social work does not have to be only for those whose lives are already in crisis – it could provide a preventative community-based service that helps people fight off the effects of poverty and inequality. In this sense it could work in effective partnership at local level with local community groups and organisations, as well as other agencies. This could really help us grapple with the issues that blight so many lives: drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, health inequalities, old age and social isolation, and others. It fits with notions of community empowerment and the redesign of communities to face issues around climate change – but it will require investment and not just rethinking. 

Our paper on Community Hubs can be found here: https://commonweal.scot/policies/care-in-your-community/

Speakers at the event are:

Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards and Common Weal Care Reform Working Group

– Robin McAlpine, Common Weal founder , campaigner and journalist

– Alison Stanley, Resilient People Team Leader, Healthy Valleys (3rd sector community organisation based in Lanark)

– Colin Turbett, social work writer & campaigner, member of the Common Weal Care Reform Working Group, author of the Common Weal Community Hubs policy paper.

Sign up to the event here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/community-hubs-delivery-points-for-the-new-national-care-service-tickets-168700518793    

2 thoughts on “Community Hubs discussion & Webinar”

  1. John Birrell

    Your support for a new national care plan is commendable but the oft used phrase “cradle to grave” needs to be highlighted. Our NHS uses this phrase regularly buy what they actually mean is “cradle to mortuary”! There remains a sever lack of care post-death, reflected both in the challenge of funeral poverty and the dearth of support for effective bereavement care. Can I suggest that if we talk about cradle to grave services then both of these areas must be included in planning

    1. Hi John, you are completely right about this. Partly because of what you have said, Robin McAlpine uses the phrase “womb to tomb” but we are using cradle to grave at present because people get that it means a comprehensive service which will serve people through their lives and they really value that. We think while a National Care Service needs to be completely separate to the NHS, it needs to be based on similar principles, eg it should be not profit and accessible to all.
      Caring relationships are crucial to our happiness as human beings and our mental health and some people never recover from the loss of someone close so its crucial that a National Care Service provides support to people who have been bereaved where needed. Poverty is also the single biggest issue that impacts on caring relationships and a National Care Service needs, in our view, to be dedicated to the eradication of poverty. I personally would prefer us to stop fragmenting poverty into “funeral poverty”, “fuel poverty”, “period poverty”, “child poverty” etc and talk about how we address poverty full stop. I hope this helps.

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