Resources, sustainability, learning and inequality

The key to understanding East Lothian’s Equally Well Test site is that it is not a short-term project to tackle health inequality. The test site status relates to developing and sharing learning about how services and communities can work together to address inequality in health outcomes. In other words it is not based on a new service, or a new intervention but on how existing services can tackle health and inequality. However this does not mean that new investment is not needed, and that some of that may have to be short term and project based. Service change and re-design is implicit in the Equally Well approach as  if you accept that health inequality is entrenched within our communities then you have to accept that continuing to do things in the same way will not result in the desired change.

 One example of how we are using resoources to support and develop core services is the £80,000 that will be invested over two years in fast tracking the development of forest school / kindergarten in the target communities. The greater bulk of this fund will be used to train a pool of teachers and community based staff as level three forest school leaders. This will give schools and nurseries in these communities a sustainable base on which to provide forest school programmes as part of their mainstream provision. On-going costs are limited to materials and equipment, especially as most East Lothian schools can access woodland within a short walking distance.

Another example of how we are using resources to support learning and service development is the Service Development Fund. This small fund is accessible only by the staff identified as service champions and is intended as a resource that allows them to foster learning about service development. The fund has simple criteria and very simple rules for the application process. Accountability is to the planning board for health improvement in East Lothian through the Support from the start steering group. A key part of the fund is that it is transparent so all bids have to be circulated to all the champions for comment. The criteria for the fund are as follows:-

Service Development Fund criteria

  •  It contributes to one of the four short term (or learning) outcome areas of Support from the Start
  • It demonstrates a potential for learning in one or more service area
  • Is explicit about how the lessons from the supported work will be communicated

 The steering group has the final say on whether a bid is approved but will be influenced by the comment and thoughts of the champions. The discussion amongst champions has occasionally been robust but the following projects have been approved. Ohter projects are in the pipeline and will be posted as they are approved. Part of the commmittment made when using this fund is that learning positve or negative will be shared. This information will be posted oon this web log when it becomes available.

 Summary of projects supported by the service development fund to date

Active Schools – £1500 to develop extra-curricular outdoor learning pack for early years and trial in Support from the Start area.

Whitecraig primary – £1300 for Health Story sacks for parents

 First Step – £1640 for a sleep service for parents who are having sleep issues with children

 Through care After care Service-  £159- resources for Vulnerable Young Mums Group

Patchwork EH32 – £1656 for each of two years. Capacity development to support the extension of Patchwork to more parents in the Prestonpans area.