Our first case study presented in detail is the social prescribing community response that now is 1 Northern Devon. This project started as 1 Ilfracombe in 2014, was well thought of locally and this enabled neighbouring geographies to value the initiative and attract funding to extend the geographical coverage. In the context of COVID-19, relationships between providers and the people of North Devon were already strong and already trusted.
The challenge of keeping something effective going is different to setting something up from scratch, and a well-run programme was able to take advantage of the upswelling in national civic responsibility, manifest in part through the NHS Good Sam response. 1 Ilfracombe is structured around six community providers focussing work under three related but discrete headings with health, as shown through successive Marmot reviews, recognised as only one aspect that helps people to thrive. More co-ordinating time was supplied within the 1 Northern Devon project to maximise ability to meet an upturn in need.
Sense and definition of place is also interesting. These projects are named for their geographies, and can be thought of as geographical or service commissioning footprints by service providers.
However, this isn’t necessarily the way they are thought of by people who receive a contact, or have a need addressed. For them the geographical or service offer breadth may not be appreciated or need to be appreciated if their need within their street, or their place of residence, is resolved. This is apparent from the NHSE Good Sam volunteers project as well, where services such as phone calls for social contact can link need in Chichester with resource in Yorkshire.
One Northern Devon tries to help people with a variety of challenges flourish, with an ambition to address as much need as possible. In common with other offerings, the challenges are sustainability and identifying the newly vulnerable.