Community Connectors (East Sussex)

Community Connectors Team
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About the service

Community Connectors is a Social Prescribing service, working in partnership with GP Practices across Hastings & Rother, and Eastbourne, Seaford & Hailsham, supporting you to improve your health and wellbeing. We help you to develop personalised and practical solutions to everyday issues.

Coronavirus Statement (19th July 2021 - Step 4 update)

At Southdown, we’re heeding the advice to proceed with caution and there will be no changes to our office and community work arrangements across the organisation until September at the earliest. This includes the continuation of social distancing and wearing of face coverings for staff and clients. Staff will also continue to take Lateral Flow Tests prior to attending one of our buildings or conducting any in-person work

We have resumed in person support and are meeting clients outside, or inside Covid safe venues (in certain circumstances). We will continue to offer phone support where this is appropriate.

Clients will be contacted prior to support to ask a few COVID safety questions in order to keep both our clients and staff safe.

In accordance with Southdown requirements and as mentioned above, staff will be taking Lateral Flow Tests prior to all in person appointments.

What is Social Prescribing?

There are times when we all need support to address life’s challenges. Knowing how to access available support locally can make a big difference. Social Prescribing helps you to explore services, groups and activities that can support you to improve your health and emotional wellbeing. Addressing difficult issues needs extra time and support.

Our team of Community Navigators can help by:

  • Giving you the time to explore and identify what is important for your health and wellbeing and the issues you’d like to address
  • Providing support and encouragement to connect to services, groups and activities that can help
  • We can speak with you on the phone or meet face-to-face. And, we will work with you to create a personalised plan to help you to connect with services in your community.

Areas we can support you to connect with include:

  • Healthy lifestyles and active lives
  • Arts, music, outdoors and creativity
  • Befriending, counselling and other support groups
  • Housing, benefits and financial support and advice
  • Employment, training and volunteering
  • Education and learning
  • Getting involved in local groups and activities
  • Accessing specialist services and support

Our Community Navigators are:

  • Someone you can talk to confidentially
  • Someone who is practical, helpful and who will not judge you
  • Someone who can help you decide what you’d like to do to improve your health and wellbeing
  • Someone who can find you support and activities that will suit you
  • Someone who can give you support along the way

Am I eligible?

The service is available to people living in Hastings & Rother, Eastbourne, Seaford & Hailsham areas, aged 16 and over, who are experiencing issues affecting their physical or mental health and wellbeing.

How do I access the service?

A member of your GP Practice team may suggest a referral to Community Connectors. They can send a referral directly to us, with your consent, or you can self-refer using the Community Connectors Self Referral Form in the 'Downloads' section at the bottom of this page. We will be in touch within seven days of receiving your referral.

Where can I meet a Community Navigator?

We currently run clinics in a range of GP practices and Communty Centres (by appointment only). Click link to view locations: PDF icon Community Connectors Social Prescribing Clinics - Jan 2020.docx.pdf

“I would like to say 'big shout out' to the Navigator and this amazing service.  Every session she has listened, found me support in various ways and been a professional at all times.  I seriously doubt whether I or anyone else I know could do this.  Whether I was up or down, had a good or hard week, she listened, gave me a different outlook and ideas on how I could help myself.  It has made such a difference to me since my very first meeting.  I was lost but now am fighting back to wellness. I won't give up.  So...Thank You” - Client


Buddy Scheme

As a client of Community Connectors, once we have worked together to identify your priority needs for your wellbeing, if you need support to help you access a service or activity in your local community, we can match you with a Buddy Volunteer who can support you to attend.

If you are a student of the Sussex Recovery College (East Sussex Campus), we also have Buddy Volunteers who can support you to attend a course.

Buddy Volunteers are selected and trained to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to support people who might be daunted by some of the obstacles they face when accessing things in the community.   

For example, your Buddy Volunteer might:

  • Help you access public transport
  • Provide peer support to you if you are isolated or lack support and confidence
  • Ring you in advance to remind you of appointments and help you to be motivated to attend your appointments/courses
  • ​Signpost you to other organisations/services that might help you

In time, it is hoped that you will gain more confidence and skills to enable you to independently access community resources in the future.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in this service for helping me get to a new course when my confidence was very low. The volunteer allocated to me was wonderful and friendly and I don’t think I could have done any of it without your help. Thank you. I would definitely recommend, brilliant service, a very happy client” - Buddy Scheme Client

Becoming a Buddy - Maybe you’d like to become a Buddy Volunteer and support others?

Volunteering and helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated and provide you with a sense of purpose. If you have 3-4 hours a week to spare you could join our Buddy Scheme and:

  • Become part of a fun, committed and friendly team
  • Receive comprehensive training and support to help develop new skills and enhance existing skill
  • Gain knowledge of the groups, activities and services in your local community and at the Sussex Recovery College
  • Have the opportunity to make a positive difference to someone’s life

Our Outreach Coordinator recruits, trains and supports volunteers for the Buddy Scheme. Once trained, you’ll be matched with clients to support them as outlined in the Buddy Scheme details above.

“After going with me for a couple of weeks, the student managed to go to the course on her own this week, she was so pleased with herself it’s lovely and I’m thrilled” - Buddy Volunteer

Free Mental Health Review / Physical Health Checks

Improving physical healthcare for people living with severe mental illness (SMI)

We know that physical health is important and has a great impact on your mental health and how you feel. We want to help you better understand your health and get help to improve and manage it.

Do you have a mental illness such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, severe depression or another psychotic disorder? If so, you may be entitled to a free health review with your GP that brings all of your mental and physical health together in one place. This can look at things you want to improve, things you struggle with and things you want more information and support with.

Our friendly team can offer you support to access a health review with your GP and to understand the outcomes from your review. We can support you before and afterwards to better understand your mental and physical health and can offer peer support from Buddy Volunteers to help you attend the Health Review at your GP.

These are some of the areas that are covered in the Physical Health Check that we can support with:

  • High Blood pressure
  • Teeth and mouth hygiene
  • Being active
  • Losing weight
  • Sexual health
  • Social support
  • Benefits
  • Housing
  • Mental Health support
  • Enjoyable activities

For more information, please contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.


Translated information about Community Connectors

PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet - Polish.pdf Community Connectors Leaflet - Polish.pdf

PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet - Russian.pdf

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PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet_Arabic.pdf

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PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet_Mandarin .pdf

PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet_Portuguese.pdf

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PDF icon Community Connectors Leaflet_Turkish.pdf


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Contact Details

Community Connectors
Job Title: 
General enquiries
01323 340 151