Engagement Bulletin – 18 December 2019

Our People Champions

Last Friday, sixteen of our People Champions joined us for a festive lunch and update session.

This was an opportunity for us to say thank you to them for their support in 2019 and for them to meet James Rimmer who started in post as our Chief Executive in September.
Our Urgent and Emergency Care team also spent 45 minutes with the group discussing what exceptional urgent care would look like in Somerset to inform a review of the service.

On the same day we launched our new People Champion induction session giving new and existing volunteers an opportunity to understand requirements around equality and diversity, safeguarding and quality improvement. They also received information on digital programmes taking place across the county and an introduction to our volunteer policy. Ten People Champions attended this session.

Our People Champions represent the public voice within our governance structure and as part of projects. They bring their lived experience, skills, knowledge and commitment, providing a lay perspective to the planning, development and commissioning of health services.

Somerset local nursing and midwifery training programme

Along with many other areas of the country, Somerset is experiencing difficulties recruiting enough nurses for our health and care services. Health and care services in Somerset want to change this and earlier this year they commissioned RSM Consulting to carry our research to help them understand how they can do this.

A few months ago they asked the people of Somerset to let them know if they were interested in careers in nursing and what issues need to be thought about to make the training accessible to all. Nearly 500 people responded to their survey to give their views and a series of five focus groups were also held in Taunton and Yeovil. Health and care services will use the information from the research to make it easier for people to train as nurses in the county. By working with education providers they hope to offer a locally available nursing degree programme to Somerset residents in the near future.

Helen Stapleton, Somerset Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Workforce Programme Lead said: “We are delighted that so many people took the time to give us their views. The findings clearly show that there is a strong interest in training to become a registered nurse or midwife in Somerset. This interest is very strong among people in their 20s and 30s, many of whom already work in other roles in health and care services.

“This is great news but we know that there are many factors which make a difference to people actually being able to train. People in Somerset told us that the three most important things which affect their ability to pursue a career in nursing or midwifery are:

  • Being able to access a local training base, for example in Taunton, Bridgwater or Yeovil, so that they don’t have to leave home to go to university to study
  • Being able to earn or receive some type of financial support while they are studying so they can support themselves and their families
  • Being able to access flexible training options such as term time or part time study, online or mobile learning to help them manage the balance between work, study, home and personal commitments.”

Jo Howarth, Deputy Chief Nurse, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is wonderful to see that there is so much interest in nursing and midwifery in Somerset. The data from the survey and the findings from our focus groups are really important in helping us to shape our plans.

“Senior nurses from across the NHS in Somerset are now working with colleagues in general practice, social care and others in an exciting partnership with Bridgwater and Taunton College with the aim of bringing a new nurse training programme to Somerset. This work includes:

  • Talking to colleagues in the higher education sector and the Nursing and Midwifery Council about the logistics of getting a local programme approved
  • Joining the national call for a return to financial support for nurse training
  • Exploring ways of offering flexible options for training, such as nursing degree apprenticeships and top up programmes for current nurse associates, and how new technology could help us deliver a high quality learning experience for people across the county
  • Working together to provide good local student placement experiences across a wider range of health and care settings.

“Our ambition is to offer local nursing and midwifery training which is tailored to meet the needs of people in Somerset. This won’t happen overnight but we are committed to making nursing and midwifery training more accessible to our people. We will keep you updated on our progress.”

Healthwatch Somerset is now seeking additional Local Board members.  They welcome interest from all sections of the local community.

Local Board members will oversee and contribute to the work programme and play a crucial role in monitoring its delivery.  They also play a part supporting the organisation to adhere to its principles, purpose and vision and ensuring that it operates in a moral and ethical way.

Healthwatch Somerset are looking for local people with a passionate interest in helping the local community shape the way their health and social care services are run.  Although not essential, if you have knowledge or experience in social care, children and young people, mental health, equalities and diversity this would be beneficial.

Get in touch to find out more about the role of a Local Board member:
Telephone 01278 264405 or email info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk

Somerset Cricket Board– Super 1s Cricket











Somerset Cricket Board currently run Super 1s, which gives young people aged 12-25 with disabilities the chance to regularly play cricket. By creating community cricket hubs for young people to receive coaching, we give participants the chance to compete against peers and enjoy the benefits of sport and an active lifestyle.

For many young people with disabilities throughout the UK, opportunities to take part in regular competitive sport can be extremely limited. Super 1s provides these opportunities and helps young people to improve their physical and mental well-being while making friends and engaging with positive role models.
The programme aims to:
·         develop the physical and mental well-being of players
·         help players make friends and engage with positive role models
·         provide an environment for competition amongst peers

How it helps young people
Super 1s provides young people with a chance to realise their potential, both on and off the pitch. It enables them to discover what they can do, not what they can’t, and become role models for their peers. Engaging in regular sport helps all young people develop personal skills, including confidence, leadership and independence. For young people with disabilities the opportunity to do this can be very limited.

Super 1s in Somerset
We have six Super 1 clubs running in Somerset

  • Bath
  • Bridgwater
  • Street
  • Taunton
  • Weston Super Mare
  • Yeovil

All sessions are free to attend and run from 6-7pm.

How to get involved
To book a place or for more information, please contact Steve Gass at Somerset Cricket Board on 01823 352266 or email steve.gass@somersetcricketboard.org  or visit our website by clicking on the button below.

The AV1 is a small desktop robot that represents a young person who is unable to go to school due to physical or mental health reasons.  The AV1 becomes the eyes, ears and voice of the child in the classroom whilst the young person is at home or in hospital, linking with the robot via a phone or tablet App.

The AV1 allows young people to take part in their ‘normal’ lessons and, very importantly, keep their relationships going with their friends and teachers as before, preventing social isolation.

Somerset County Council has recently acquired 50 AV1 robots that are now available for all Somerset schools and colleges to hire, as and when required. Hire fees are £100 per month which covers delivery and collection, insurance and ICT subscription charges.

AV1’s can be used to supplement medical tuition or as an early help resource to hopefully prevent escalation of future need. Pilot studies in South Somerset have been successful in re-engaging young people with anxiety through a structured programme back into school via the AV1.

For more information contact Julie Young at JAYoung@somerset.gov.uk



Skip to content