08/07/19 – Welcome to our first blog. Each week we will take turns in giving you a little update of how the innovation site is going.

I don’t think that with all the initial challenges of finding somewhere to work from, we can believe that Week One is done! We celebrated the end of our first week with a couple of after work drinks on Friday at our local, The Stag and Hound, which was really lovely. It was nice to acknowledge the efforts of everyone and their contribution to making this happen. I’m hoping we will keep this as a regular team building exercise!! 😊 

We’ve settled into the Tudor Room at Salisbury House and with its lovely gardens and easy access to N9 and EN1, we feel lucky to base ourselves here, the only slight nuisance is that we do have to pack away the room a few nights a week, as it is hired out to other groups (church, yoga, parties).

We have used to this week to visit organisations in the community, so we understand what is going on locally to support residents of Enfield and we know how can connect and link the adults we work with to these amazing resources. 

We’ve realised that despite living and working in LBE we do not really have too much insight and awareness into what community and voluntary sector organisations are out there, many of which offer social clubs and do fantastic preventative work. Some of the organisations we have linked with include- MIND, The Shane Project, Enfield Asian Welfare Association, Enfield Turkish Cypriot Association, EDA, i-Can Service, 3rd Age Project, Church Groups, Health professionals and Age UK.

As we go through the next 12 weeks and find more resources, we will update My Life and compile a directory of leaflets which we can share with other teams. We certainly think that being assigned to a locality in the borough has its benefits, as you can develop those useful links with organisations and become more embedded in the community. LBE is such a vast borough, its hard to know about absolutely everything that’s going on. I think this is a positive demonstration of how helpful being in the ILTs will be.

So far, in our first week we received 12 contacts for adults in our cohort area, all of which are now engaged in Conversation 1 with our practitioners and we have also had our first bunch of flowers as a ‘Thank you’ gift- Well done Ruth.

 After 2.5 years of not practicing front line Social Work, I am very excited (and a little nervous!) to say that I am going on my first home visit today. Going forward I will continue to engage with adults in the 3 conversation.  I think its hugely important that as a manager in this innovation site, I participate in the day to day work to gain better insight into the approaches we are using. I think that this will strengthen the ongoing work we do as a team, develop my own skills and I will feel more confident in supporting the team if I understand the work we are doing, the principles that underpin it and how to implement it .

One of the challenges we are currently working though is how we strip back our Care First obs recording! We are so used to recording and documenting every single contact in detail that ‘proportionate recording’ will take some getting used to, but we are embracing this key principle!

Our swear jar has a couple of IOUs in it. Changing the way we speak and the language we use will also take some time. We have banned words like Service User, Assessment and Referral, and have changed them to ‘Adult’, ‘Discussion about what’s important to you’, ‘We will connect you with….’. I think by the end of this process we will have enough money in our swear jar for a meal out!

Thank you, the team at Enfield.

22/07/2019 – Week 3 of our blog 

Good morning! We are firing on all cylinders and ready for a hot week here at Salisbury House 😊 Our aircon unit is on standby in the loft ha! 

Week three was an eventful one, with us receiving our first Conversation 2 (adult in Crisis) and a further 20 contacts. One of the things we have noticed as a positive is being able to work jointly with each other (2 heads are better than one!) especially in situations of Crisis. We are also gaining a lot from having informal discussions with team members after visiting people in the community. Even just a 10 minute catch up with 2 or 3 of us has been hugely helpful. Being based in such big teams like CMS or Enablement makes it difficult to have these types of chats and bounce ideas and suggestions off one another; we all agree that we would just tend to approach our line managers for advice. 

We have continued to visit local organisations and feel that this is an intrinsic part of the way we work. We all feel its hugely important to maintain this local contact and have been out and about in the community during week 3 as you can see below… 😊 

Luciana and Matt popped in to see us (with cake, which is always appreciated ha!) Lorraine and Anna also stopped in on Friday afternoon with some telecare equipment and other kit which we plan to use during our conversations- watch this space 😉 ! Melanie and Helen visited us to discuss the ways in which Linking Together can work to support IWE and the Adult Placement Team. 

We get a sense that Linking Together and the concept of an Innovation Site is creating a buzz with other teams. We are having more and more conversations with colleagues in LD and CMHT who seem genuinely interested in the work we are doing. The main thing we are getting from everyone we speak to is that this isn’t ‘something new’ or a concept they’ve never encountered; we unconsciously promote individuals’ strengths during most of our interactions with them! The key is to fully acknowledge this and work on creating better links with assets in the local community and the persons own family members and/or friends. Having time to take a step back and look at the way we were previously working has given us all food for thought! 

Shine a light on our community- Dementia Services! 

A lot of our contacts are requesting support for individuals with early onset Dementia and the knowledge we have about local dementia resources is a bit out of date! For example,

the Alzheimer’s Society no longer sit in the Lancaster Centre, although they continue to run a ‘singing for the brain’ group in Vera Ave and have a helpline.  

The Parker Centre which is run by Age UK has several dementia services and is a hub of activity each day! I visited last Tuesday and met with the manager and some of the staff

As well as the Day Centre itself they also have Memory Care Navigators who work with adults and their carers following initial diagnosis, Home Based Support Workers, A Memory Club which meets every Friday and a Dementia Choir that I was lucky enough to attend (pls see pics below!) Their website is jam packed with stuff so please take a look https://www.ageuk.org.uk/enfield/our-services/memory-care-navigators-project/ 

We currently have one Admiral Nurse in the borough who works from Chase Farm hospital and supports patients and carers who are referred in to the Hawthorn Centre. I am hoping to visit her next week. We have highlighted a gap in services for carers who are finding it difficult to manage their loved ones challenging behaviour and hope to work with Enfield Carers Centre and the social prescribing manager at Age UK to think of ways of better supporting these people. 

Hero of the week

It must be Mr Jones who I visited last Wednesday! He is 96, has a diagnosis of Macular Degeneration and is the main carer for his wife who has Alzheimer’s. He attends 2 (yes 2!) ballroom dance classes each week and is off to Warners for his summer holiday in August!!  Age is just a number people!!

Top Tip

Stop saying sorry….

Thank you for taking time out to read what we’ve been up to and don’t forget to drop in and see us!

Thanks from the team in Enfield.  😊

29/07/2019 – Week 4 of our blog 

Good Morning! Natalie here, I’ll start by saying, I’m not much of a blogger so in the words of Miranda Hart, please “bear with”.  Phew, what a scorcher we had this week – how did everyone cope in that record breaking heat? The AC unit was definitely put to good use!  The team here made the most of the beautiful garden on Thursday by holding our weekly Partners 4 Change meeting in it Monica and Sarah also enjoyed their supervision in the sunshine (don’t worry re: confidentiality – there’s no one around so only the squirrels can hear what is being spoken about! #secretsquirrelsociety).

This week saw 20 new contacts into the team, all of whom we have commenced engagement with – a major positive I have found with working in a locality area is that we are able to get out and visit people very quickly and see quite a few in one day – some of which are just a hop, skip and a jump away from our office!  We’ve had a few ‘stories of difference’ where we have seen how working with someone using the 3 conversation model has resulted in positive changes that may not have been achieved by working in the old way.  For example, we have been able to see people within a few days and in different settings outside of their home and accompany them to community groups.

Feedback from the adults we are working with and their families has been largely positive – most are surprised at how quickly they have been seen.  Others are grateful to find out about the community groups and what’s on offer in their local area.  Some have really appreciated when they have been physically accompanied to, and linked in with, specific community groups – it has given them the confidence to return again on their own.

We continued this week with our visits to local resources (yes – we are still managing to find new resources in the locality).  Emma and Monica visited Bountagu – an organisation that works with residents of Montagu and Bounces road.  They provide a coffee morning and luncheon club and report that they used to be able to offer more but unfortunately have had funding cuts.  Emma and Monica spent time talking about Linking Together and also provided info and advice to them about how they could set up a ‘Good Neighbour’ scheme for the area.

Emma also attended the Domestic Violence focus group this week run by Solace Women’s Aid in preparation for training that will be developed to support and work with older survivors of domestic abuse.  Emma found the focus group really informative and it sounds as though the training is going to be a good one – I will be putting my name forward when it is available!

Joy and I had the pleasure of working with ‘Celebrity Cleaner’ Maxine Dwyer (Cachet Cleaners) – who starred in the ITV series Call the Cleaners (which I have shamefully seen every episode of haha).  She is working with us on our 1st Conversation 2 case (crisis case) as well as a few other cases.

We have received an invite from the Citizens Advice Bureau to talk about how they can be involved in Linking Together and how we can all work together so we’ll have more of an update on this in future blogs!  We think it will be a great service to link in with and have on board!

We have had the ladies from Access visit this week and Luciana spent the morning with us on Friday which was nice.  As always, our door is open and a cup of tea is waiting, so visitors are more than welcome.

We’re looking forward to welcoming back Tania and Sarah from their annual leave! We’ve missed having them in the office – but Tania has made sure to keep us updated with pictures of her relaxing by the pool while we’re working – how thoughtful 😉 

“Today is a good day to have a good day”

Thanks for reading!

From the team in Enfield.