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Introducing Essex's Prevention and Enablement Model

The Essex local delivery pilot's project delivery manager, Kelly Harman, blogs on the development of the model designed to help those with complex health and social care needs, get active.

1st March 2022

by Kelly Harman
Project delivery manager, Essex local delivery pilot

The population of Essex is ageing.

People are living longer with more complex needs and health and social care organisations need to think differently about how to manage this growing demand.

As people grow older the risk of developing health complaints and long-term health conditions increases; yet many older people in Essex are inactive, increasing this risk even further.

Each community in Essex offers a wealth of assets, activities and opportunities for people to connect and engage with.

However, those with additional needs often feel excluded from their local community and become isolated or increasingly dependent on their loved ones.

We know that sport and physical activity brings people and local communities together.

It creates focus and has the power to generate networks, friendships, improve confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle, both in terms of cardio-vascular health, but also diet and nutrition.

Each community in Essex offers a wealth of assets, activities and opportunities for people to connect and engage with.

However, many older people and those who have additional needs, don’t engage in sport or physical activity, and often have limited daily activity or interaction with others.

Active Essex, Essex County Council Adult Social Care and Sport for Confidence have developed a strategic partnership to look at how to create opportunities for disabled people and those living with long-term health conditions, to be active and engage in sport and physical activity within their community.

Initially a 12-month test and learn project funded by the Essex local delivery pilot, the prevention and Enablement Model (PEM) is now in its second year of testing due to the disruption of Covid-19 with further finance investment from Adult Social Care.

The diagram below outlines the key aims and workstreams of the project.

Illustration of Essex local delivery pilot's Prevention and Enablement Model

The initial findings from the six-month evaluation report published in March 2021 show that:

  • From early, indicative data, we see that PEM has the potential to lift the wellbeing and activity levels of a disabled person to levels similar to those reported by non-disabled people.
  • PEM service users also self-reported health levels higher than disabled people in the Active Lives survey.
  • Of those staff exposed to early PEM training, we saw a sixfold increase in the confidence of the occupational therapists advising service users on the impact of inactivity.
  • PEM has the potential of being a socially desirable investment, delivering about £3 of social value per each £1 invested.

PEM is providing a great opportunity for the sport and physical activity sector to better understand adult social care, how the system operates and the challenges it faces, but also where the opportunities are for collaboration

Co-production has been at the heart of the project from the start, building on asset-based community development work and ensuring the user voice is heard throughout.

The journey has started positively and despite the impact from the pandemic, PEM is primed to make an even more significant difference to the lives of people living with a disability or long-term health condition, over the course of the next year.

Listen to their story

In addition to Kelly's blog, the team behind PEM have also produced an audio version of the story behind PEM.

Kelly introduces a half-hour listen on PEM, including interviews clips with a number of people key to the model's development.

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