"As a Community Navigator, I offer one-to-one support to clients to help them set their own goals and then action these"

Lead Community Navigator

The Community Connectors service works around the social prescribing model. We support patients from local GP surgeries to access specialist agencies and activities in the local community that can help to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Hi! My name is Caroline I am Lead Community Navigator at Connect Well working within the Community Connectors service.

The Community Connectors service works around the social prescribing model. We support patients from local GP surgeries to access specialist agencies and activities in the local community that can help to improve mental health and wellbeing.

As a Community Navigator, I offer one-to-one support to clients to help them set their own goals and then action these. This includes connecting clients to relevant services and activities in their local community that will benefit their progress.

The Community Connectors service offers a personalised approach for everyone, enabling access to many different services and activities.  The knowledge and coaching skills within the Community Connectors service is vast and invaluable.

A typical day would involve me arriving at Marlborough House at 8.30am and checking my diary for appointments that are booked in.  I see approximately four to five clients a day giving them space to discuss problems. I am able to spend up to an hour with each client due to the unique background of clients, cultures, and beliefs they present with varying levels of need for their mental health and wellbeing. 

It is important for me to communicate well with the surgery staff and we have conversations with GPs about concerns we may have about patients and vice versa.  This is an extremely important part of my role - to make sure the clients are receiving the correct support at the right time.

I like my role as each day is never the same and I continue to learn something new every day whether this is from the clients directly or from some research that we do together.  

I have seen the positive impact our service has through watching clients make their journey from uncertainty to a clear goal that can be achieved.  Building networks within the local community is the way to establish a healthier community that works together.

Services like ours are important to the community as they bridge the gap - supporting clients to learn more about the community and building up social networks that continue to support in the future.

The best thing about my role is I get to watch the progress of clients. Even if they only access the service for one appointment and come in emotional, it is great to see how time and being listened to can send them off with a smile on their face.

The Community Connectors Service will be celebrating our first year very shortly and although there have been challenges that come with every new service, we are now embedded in a lot of surgeries, working closely with GPs, and continue to engage the wider community.

I hope that the service grows and is in every GP surgery in East Sussex, reaching the wider and more rural communities.  I would like to continue to promote mental health as being just as important as physical health when we are looking at an individual’s whole wellbeing.

 

Community Connectors is a free service for people with issues impacting on their mental health and where they or their GP have identified that a ‘social prescription’ would be of benefit. Social Prescribing helps clients find practical solutions to everyday issues and supports them to link in with specialist agencies and activities in their local community that can help improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. Connect Well brings together local GPs and health and wellbeing providers to support people with mental health challenges to be happy, healthy, and independent.