Embracing Community Wellbeing: Connecting Our Community 

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Embracing Community Wellbeing: Connecting Our Community 

The ‘Connect Me’ grant initiative is dedicated to enhancing the well-being of islanders through culture, arts and physical activities. At the heart of this initiative are our ‘Connectors’ but who exactly are these Connectors, and what is their mission? 

For some, life on the island can be challenging at times, anxiety and loneliness can easily slip into depression. Islanders need a system that encourages participation in activities, which positively impact well-being and resilience. However, each situation is unique, and many islanders are unaware of the opportunities available. This is where our Connectors step in. 

The Connect Me Vision 

The ultimate aim of the Connect Me project is to enhance community well-being by uniting communities in ways that maximise the well-being of islanders, especially those most isolated and at risk from health and well-being issues. The Connect Me Project draws inspiration from ‘social prescribing’—the practice of ‘prescribing’ social activity as a non-medical alternative or supplement for conditions associated with loneliness, poor mental health, or inactivity.  

Evidence shows that social prescribing saves significant costs for health services, reduces pressure on primary care facilities, and offers effective non-medical treatment options for various physical and mental health disorders. 

The Connect Me project has partnered with charities and community groups to increase access to a wide range of arts, nature, or sport-based group activities, focusing particularly on individuals or groups often excluded from such activities. So far, the 2024 grants window has reached 35,681 people who have benefitted, 95 organisations have received Connect Me grants and 151 projects have been supported. 

What is a Connector? 

Connectors are dedicated representatives from various charities and organisations committed to improving community well-being. Connectors play a crucial role in listening, connecting, and collaborating within their communities. They receive monthly training to enhance their skills and participate in feedback sessions to share experiences and brainstorm solutions collectively. 

Currently, there are 29 Connectors from 25 different organisations, including Dementia Jersey, Acorn, Community Navigators, Every Child Our Future, and more.

This September, we will welcome a new cohort of Connectors who will receive training, support, and access to grants. Interested individuals are encouraged to email Connectme@gov.je to get involved. 

Launching Elemental 

Connect Me celebrates the launch of Elemental, a social prescribing platform designed to enhance community well-being across Jersey. This launch marks a significant milestone in the mission to unite communities and improve the health and happiness of islanders through social activities and engagement. 

Connectors and Link Workers 

Alongside our connectors, we will also have link workers. Link workers are recruited from the Connector cohort. Link workers have a more direct role in connecting people to activities and groups that will best support their well-being – they are in effect the ‘Social Prescribers’. They receive funding, training and support for their social prescribing role. 

How can Islanders reach out? 

1. Self-service online – through the Elemental app/ website you can request the support of a link worker and they will reach out to you by telephone.   

2.  Link workers will spend some of their working hours based in public places such as the library, community centres, Closer to Home events, supermarkets etc. to help support people in person.   

3. Doctors and other healthcare providers are encouraged to direct their patients to the Elemental app where appropriate. 

Hear from Our Connectors  

Natalie Mayer, Founder of Skate Space Jersey, shares her inspiration for becoming a Connector with us: 

“I knew it would be a great opportunity to expand my network, which would help understand the needs of the wider community, making my charity more active and relevant. There is power in collaboration, and the Connector network facilitates this. Simply hearing about what other charities are doing, their struggles, and successes help me understand the island landscape better, and there is always advice and suggestions from people who are in a similar position to us.” 

Stephen Lamb, Centre Manager at St Andrew’s Church, on why he became a connector: 

“I had a desire to see more people in Jersey feel a sense of belonging and be empowered to access the support they need. This is particularly important for people who are vulnerable and disconnected.” 

“Every time connectors meet together, fantastic ideas are shared and we learn from one another. Sometimes this comes to fruition through a new, creative idea and sometimes it’s learning from what hasn’t gone so well in our context. Staying connected has helped us to call on the expertise of other people and be more efficient in what we do.” 

Get Involved 

The launch of Elemental is just the beginning. We invite everyone to join us on this exciting journey. Whether you’re interested in becoming a Connector, participating in activities, or supporting our initiatives, there are countless ways to get involved and make a difference.  

For more information, visit our new website at https://www.elementalsoftware.site/jersey/.  

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