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How social action is transforming lives

How social action is transforming lives


Social action has a
long tradition, giving, volunteering, whether
formal or informal. Today the emphasis is on
transforming public services through networks. Citizens working alongside
trained professionals. And fueling the process
is a growing cadre of social innovators
and entrepreneurs, giving unstintingly their
time, their resources and their expertise. This film highlights
their achievements. Over the last three years
an ambitious volunteering programme has changed the face
of London’s King’s College hospital. Help in hospitals is 21st
century social action. Young and old, from every
part of the community, support in clinical care
through acts of human kindness. My role here as a volunteer
is to encouraged to children to take part in activities,
to play with them, and to just generally
take their mind off of the whole hospital setting
so that they can somewhat feel at home. I can’t make the pain going
away, as much as I want to, I’m there for support for the
parents as well as the patient. Four years ago we probably
had about 200 volunteers, today we’ve got 1,500 today. We have unanimous
support among staff, and it’s very noticeable
that on the wards that have more volunteers
we definitely get an improvement in the
“how are we doing?” surveys. It’s not only rewarding,
but you gain so many skills, social skills, and it’s
confirmed my future plan of becoming a paediatric nurse. This is what I want to do. I’m 100% sure that the costs
of running this program are far exceeded by
the benefits of it. There’s absolutely no reason why
every hospital in the country couldn’t do what we’re
doing here at Kings. The scale of
volunteering at Kings has made it a beacon for social
action across the country, and the models now moving into
a second wave of hospitals. The same spirit is spreading
rapidly into education too. The Access Project has built
a team of corporate sector volunteers, they
work intensively with disadvantaged students
helping improve their grades and then apply for
top universities. A powerful response to a
real and urgent problem, declining social mobility. Before the access
project, I knew that I want to go to university,
but the top universities like Oxford and Cambridge
always seemed intimidating, but after joining
The Access Project I gained the confidence
and the grades, through the help of
my tutors, to apply. Unfortunately, if
you go to school in the area of disadvantage,
your chances of going on to [INAUDIBLE] university are
tiny, and the people who get in are the exceptions, they are
the one student every five years who manages to buck the trend. At the start of the
year, we estimated that we would be able to
support about 63 students. At the moment, we’re delighted. We’ve actually got 91
who’ve received offers at [INAUDIBLE] universities. Life in Oxford is
absolutely fantastic. Just a really, really
inspiring place to learn. I’m here because of
The Access Project. It equips people who come
from working class families to go on and get the job
that they want to do. We want to be in over
100 schools working with about 6,000 kids by 2020. The last 20 years have
seen an amazing story in terms of democratisation
of university participation. This I see is the last
element of cracking the nut of why do
less affluent kids not go to the top universities. The Access Project is
having a profound effect on a relatively small
number of people. It goes deep and narrow,
that’s its power. But are there also ways
to have a broader impact and reach bigger
student numbers? Code Club, teaching
the next generation the skills for a digital age. Code Club is a
group of volunteers that come into
schools to teach 9 to 11-year-olds basic
programming skills that they can then choose to go
into it in further education. No barriers to scaling here. 2,300 clubs already created. And the programme’s inexpensive,
it simply matches schools with volunteers. I definitely think this
project should be rolled out nationally, because
children seem to enjoy it and they get basic skills
that they can transfer amongst many other
fields later on in life. When I look at Code Club I
think it is extremely powerful, largely because it is a new
aspect to the curriculum that we have to
develop in schools, so bringing in people
who have absolutely cutting edge knowledge
in terms of coding is essential for motivating
the young people, but also potentially helping to
support and train our teachers. Code Club, like
The Access Project, faces a triple challenge–
scalability, affordability, and impact you can evidence. Both projects have further to
go before declaring victory, but the signs are good. Creating the potential
for transformation for the sector as a whole. When I look ahead five years,
I think the role of a head as commissioner of social action
opportunities within schools is absolutely vital, but it
shouldn’t just stay with the head teacher, it really
is to permeate throughout the whole organisation so it can
be a real catalyst for change. So in education, social
action could significantly enrich provision, and as in
education so too in health. Social action can be
transformative and impactful in social care. We are living in the time
when needs are increasing significantly as
resources are reducing. One and three people
over the age of 65 will develop dementia. Dementia Friends is
insuring that the people in their community understand
what it means have Dementia and the small ways
that they can help. We’ve developed a training
programme for volunteers who becomes Dementia
Friends champions. They will then go and book a
Dementia Friends information session, and encourage
people to come and hear what they have got to say
and how they can help. Our goal in Dementia
Friends is ultimately to create dementia-friendly
communities across the whole of
our society, and we’re hoping to do that by creating
one million dimension friends by 2050. It’s amazing what
social action will do and we’ve reach so
many people so far, and long may that continue. We want more champions who
are creating more friends to make a difference to
people with dementia. Dementia Friends is
designed for mass-impact. it aims to change how our
country thinks about Dementia, but providing
sustained dementia care requires a different
complementary initiative, to reach at least a proportion
of people living with dementia, and if you look across
social care as a whole, there is a network-based
model that’s making a difference
to people’s lives. Shared Lives Plus is a
fantastic initiative, which enables people to throw
open their doors to provide care for people enhancing
their dignity, choice and control in ordinary
community settings. Well there are three ladies
that live with this one. One lady is 32 and
she has Down Syndrome. Another lady is, she’s 19. She was living with less than
positive influences in her life and now, challenging
behaviour is very much reduce. The third young
lady was somebody who actively sought
out this placement and she wanted to come and
live in this kind of way. Well, since the
girls have lived here they’ve taken an
interest in their health, they show less signs of stress. They’ve acquired
friends, they’re invited to parties They
have a social life, a real social life,
same as anybody else. They’re independent
but not alone. I think there are a lot of
people [? at the world, ?] like Grandma [INAUDIBLE], who
love to be in Shared Lives, love to share their
lives with somebody. It feels like a little family. We are one big family, and
that’s why it works so well. We not only care and
support the three ladies, but we also care
about them as well, and we also love them
as part of our family. Shared Live Plus is scalable,
affordable, and impactful. It’s launched 120 schemes
across the country and it calculates that
if every scheme were as good as the best, it
would triple it’s reach and save 150 million
pounds a year. So, five breakthrough projects
across two very challenging sectors, is this a
platform for wider change? We’ve got the opportunity for
some amazing transformation with social action. It’s another immense resource
for this country, really. Looking at what’s the role
in the contribution, that’s different than the role that a
teacher can play, or a doctor can play, or a nurse can
play in those services. It is a time for innovation,
it is a time for, not necessarily just compliance,
we’re trying something new, and working alongside
people to see if we’re actually getting there
and what the lessons learned are. This is quite revolutionary. At Kings we really
believe we have connected with the
population we serve. One of our values is
making a difference to our local communities. Commissioners can secure
that legacy by making sure that they’re thinking about
the role of [INAUDIBLE] and a formal effort in
contributing to meeting peoples needs in their
local communities. So these things make a
tremendous difference, perhaps not just people’s
immediate care needs, but also the quality
of people’s lives. Social action is absolutely
critical to the future of social care in this country. These projects are
already changing lives, but they’re still
prototypes, and it’s the work of the next phase
to attribute their impact security to practises that
are evidenced and understand. In the long term, the goal
is to embed social action across the public
services, to spread these remarkable
and life enhancing changes into every school, every
hospital, and every community, to make social action
part of everyday life.

Comments (2)

  1. It's #SharedLivesWeek  – discover the incredible work of Shared Lives Carers in our recent video about the importance of social action.

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