Healthwatch Lambeth helped evaluate the first two years of Project Smith, by gathering feedback from people taking part in activities supported by the Lambeth Wellbeing Fund and those involved in the Community Connectors scheme between March 2016 and February 2018. This allowed for some rich insights into both strands of the programme, spanning service experiences and outcomes for people. We were also able to build some collective profile pictures to indicate the reach achieved in these early phases of the programme.
What is a Community Connector?
Community Connectors are the link between activities/organisations and people. This connection can help to improve peoples' quality of life, by introducing them to wellbeing and health services, community or social groups, and different activities that are available in their community.
- Connection profile - Of the six people who gave feedback about the support they received from a Connector, four had known their Connector for some time before receiving the help they described.
- Service experience - When asked about the quality of support they received from the Connector, most of our beneficiary interviewees gave very positive feedback, using terms such as ‘passionate’, ‘honest’, ‘calm’ and ‘a good listener’ to describe the person who had helped them.
- Outcomes for Connectors - Several Connectors said friendships and social connections have been built within the cohort.
Feedback on service experiences was almost universally positive across both strands of the programme. Interviewees told us that the support offered by Connectors was proactive but also sensitive to their needs, and our general impression of the funded projects was of good quality activities that were well run and well received. Overall, this community investment approach already appears to be paying dividends and we look forward to seeing further creative ideas and health and wellbeing benefits fostered by the programme across the borough.
Our 46 interviewees (including the Connectors themselves) were also able to report tangible benefits from these interventions which, collectively, could be mapped against all three of the planned programme outcomes: connectivity, resilience, and health and wellbeing self-management. We were also interested to see evidence of broader societal benefits from the Connectors scheme, both as a means for local people to model ‘good citizenship’ and to contribute to the wider community infrastructure through signposting and connecting organisations, as well as residents.
Overall, this community investment approach already appears to be paying dividends and we look forward to seeing further creative ideas and health and wellbeing benefits fostered by the programme across the borough.