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A ground breaking Soham project has shown the painted pebble craze ‘rocks’ by bringing young and older people together at a coffee morning.

The monthly event aims to bring different parts of the community together and is just one of the initiatives in the town facilitated by the Cambridgeshire County Council Neighbourhood Cares Pilot.

Young people from the Soham ‘Love on the Rocks’ Facebook page were on hand to help older folk at the coffee morning with the painting. They also explained the idea behind the exchanging of the colourful stones, to spread happiness by painting rocks and hiding them for people to find.

The Neighbourhood Cares Coffee morning runs on the first Wednesday of every month at Soham Library between 10 am and 12 pm. Anyone is welcome to come along and it’s an opportunity for people to meet others, take part in activities and receive advice and information on a whole range of issues, including local community support and adult social care.

The Neighbourhood Cares pilot is currently being piloted in Soham and St Ives and follows the highly successful Dutch Buurtzorg care model, which is based on self-managed teams of highly qualified Neighbourhood Cares workers who know their community well.

The Neigbourhood Cares pilot is the first time Buurtzorg principles have been applied purely to Adult Social Care in the country. It is being trialled to evaluate if this approach can provide high quality community based support whilst helping to reduce the rising demands and costs of health and adult social care and provide a stimulating workplace to help retain and develop staff. 

Frontline staff work in their communities to meet the needs of individuals by working closely with those who may need assistance, regardless of whether the challenges an individual faces are simple or complex. They will support adults over the age of 18 to ensure people get the right advice and support at the right time, at the right place, from the right people.

This might mean, for example, helping someone to live with the effects of dementia, or putting someone who is lonely in touch with a friendship group or social club. Neighbourhood Cares workers will help to create and develop new services and support networks in and with the community.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Anna Bailey, Chairwoman of the Adults Committee, said: “Neighbourhood Cares is about rooting social care support firmly within the community at a very local level, to plan and deliver support on a community wide basis. The coffee mornings in Soham are a small but important part of this, aiming to give people who maybe isolated, or want to find information and support, a friendly place to come and meet others. Painting pebbles sounds like a simple thing but today it made a real difference to people there, with young people making meaningful connections with some of the older people in the town.”

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