We aim to develop community services to empower individuals and groups of people. We do this by giving them the skills they need to effect change and build stronger and more resilient local communities.
We recognise the vital role community development plays in influencing the health status of socially excluded service users. We contribute to community development by supporting and actively encouraging meaningful involvement of communities and individuals. We help them get involved in the design and putting in place of strategies and initiatives to tackle social exclusion and poverty. We particularly support community development within preventative, primary and community-based health care and in other local services.
One example of this is ‘social prescribing’. This describes the way people access non-medical interventions. It is a mechanism to link people with community supports to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. These supports include community-based activities and groups, like:
- ‘men's sheds’;
- art classes;
- community gardening; and
- other support groups.
People may also be linked to self-help programmes such as ‘Stress Control’ or long-term self-management programmes.
‘Social Prescribing’ is in Place in Donegal
While it is relatively new to Ireland, social prescribing has been successfully put in place in six areas in Donegal since September 2013.
Frameworks and Strategies for Community Participation
We aim to promote and support the rollout of A Framework for Implementation of Community Participation in Primary Care 2014.
We will try to establish a baseline of community development activity in each Community Healthcare Organisation.
The National Strategy for Service User Involvement in the Irish Health Service 2008-2013 and the Service User Involvement and Primary Care Framework Document 2011 outline how the service user should be central:
- to their own care; and
- in the design and delivery of health and personal social services.