Local Area Coordination in England and Wales
Updates on Local Area Coordination, the work of the Network and
the areas implementing the approach.
In this edition we’ll be covering:
- Hello and Welcome
- ‘Building and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries: Connecting and Learning Together’
- National Survey of Care Workers
- Events, Training & Campaigns
- Other Useful Blogs
- New Social Leaders Course
A note from from Tom Richards,
Manager of the Local Area Coordination Network
Hello and welcome to the Local Area Coordination Network Newsletter!
The theme of this month’s newsletter is ‘Building and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries’: a theme inspired by a great session we had the pleasure of hosting with members of the Local Area Coordination Network (you can read more about this event in an upcoming article).
There are a number of things that may spring to mind when thinking about boundaries: barriers, process, systems, distance, and ‘managing expectations’ are often discussed within the context of boundaries. The boundaries we hold in Local Area Coordination come from a very different place and exist to ensure good, intentional practice from the very first time a Local Area Coordinator meets someone they will be walking alongside:
Following the Principles
Local Area Coordination is led by a set of 10 Guiding Principles which inform every aspect of Local Area Coordination – from exploring a person’s gifts, strengths, and contributions – to creating a space for people to reflect on their experiences and challenges, promoting lifelong learning. It’s these 10 principles which guide and maintain good practice in the face of huge pressures felt by communities and services. We regularly hold training sessions, workshops, and gatherings focused around these 10 principles and how they are applied by Local Area Coordinators across the Network.
Building trusted relationships
Healthy boundaries are developed between a person and their Local Area Coordinator, first and foremost, through developing relationships of trust and mutual understanding, taking time to really get to know the person and the things that matter to them, while taking more time to explain and show what Local Area Coordination is all about. This creates an equal opportunity for the person to set the boundaries in their journey alongside a Local Area Coordinator, from where and when they meet, ambitions to focus on, and anything the person isn’t ready to discuss.
People at the centre of their support
Local Area Coordination aims to ensure that people are at the centre of every decision that is made about them. Local Area Coordinators will often support someone they are alongside to represent themselves at meetings with services, taking time to help the person to plan the key messages they want to share, while working together with colleagues across the service system to ensure that meetings are accessible and the person can be heard. If, for any reason, someone can’t represent themselves, Local Area Coordinators may advocate on a person’s behalf, but only after agreeing what will be shared and how in advance, maintaining choice and control over the decisions made about them. External evaluations from across the Network also show how this ensures support from services is proportionate, appropriate, and more effective, and ensures system resources are used more efficiently.
Championing independence – and interdependence
It’s difficult to overstate the important role that formal services play in all of our lives and communities. However, times of hardship present us all with the opportunity to learn new skills and strategies that will help us to better overcome similar challenges in future, and to strengthen relationships with the people we rely on during difficult times. These are the opportunities for us to grow as people that might otherwise be missed if services step in to ‘fix’ people’s problems for them, especially if the person has little involvement.
Local Area Coordinators promote the complementary nature of services by creating opportunities for people to reflect on their skills, strategies, and the supportive relationships they have around them, to learn from past experiences to achieve their vision of a good life, and to overcome challenges, before looking at the range of formal services available to them. We know from decades of research and evaluations that this can support people to feel more confident, independent, and better able to cope with challenges in future, while being less likely to need to draw on formal services.
Boundaries in Local Area Coordination are all about laying the foundations of a relationship that is based on an appreciation of all that is good about a person and celebrating the potential for people to build the life they want for themselves.
We love talking about all aspects of Local Area Coordination, so if you would like to find out more about the approach, or would like to explore bringing Local Area Coordination to your area, please contact LACN@communitycatalysts.co.uk.
Enjoy the newsletter!