The ‘Realising Ambition’ initiative has awarded a £2m contract to Suffolk and Essex Community Foundations. The initiative brings together primary care, social services and the voluntary sector to improve health services identified by the three local alliances (East Suffolk, West Suffolk and North East Essex). Between them, they have set measurable ‘place level’ ambitions to make a difference to the things that really matter to people at a very local level which, in turn, supports the vision for the wider system.  Improving mental health, reducing suicides, tackling obesity, improving end of life care and combating loneliness are key priorities for the Integrated Care System (ICS).

Dr John Hague, Mental Health Lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Shadow Integrated Care System and GP in Ipswich, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity which will bring health, care, volunteers and the public together to bring about real improvements for local people and communities.

“We have been working with the community foundations and voluntary sector in setting up social prescribing – a scheme which links patients needing GP or primary care with sources of support within the community. With Realising Ambition, we will be building on this way of working and expanding it to include other priorities for our system.”

ICS leaders say that the distribution of the money across the three areas – Ipswich and East Suffolk, North East Essex and West Suffolk – will be based on a number of factors, including local levels of deprivation.

ICS Programme Director Susannah Howard, said: “We know that making a difference to complex population outcomes is very difficult. We are therefore asking leaders within each of the three main areas to determine their local priorities. This would involve working closely with local people and communities, clinicians, support groups and stakeholders to determine what these should be. Voluntary and community organisations will then be invited by the Suffolk and Essex Community Foundations to submit proposals for projects where they believe a broader contribution could be made towards achieving the system’s Higher Ambitions.”

Stephen Singleton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Foundation said, ‘We are excited to be involved in this new initiative. Our voluntary sector plays a significant part in improving health and well-being for our local people and with the introduction of this programme, we feel that there will be a greater emphasis on integrated support for our communities. We look forward to working with our partners to make a real difference to the lives of local people.’

To learn more about the initiative, click here > 

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