Plunkett to tackle rural community care with lessons from world’s co-ops

The Plunkett Foundation is launching a new project looking at ways to help keep people healthy, cared-for and connected to their communities

The Plunkett Foundation is launching a project looking at ways to help keep people healthy, cared-for and connected to their communities.

The organisation, which helps communities take control of their challenges and overcome them through co-operation, aims to build on the community strengths in rural areas to focus on wellbeing and prevention, with strong links to local care and medical health services.

“The project came about because of Plunkett’s real passion to help people develop co-operative solutions to the needs of today,” said Dr Kathrin Luddecke, who is leading the project.

“We saw both a need and opportunity for rural communities to develop innovative and enterprising solutions to the challenges of keeping people healthy, cared for and connected.”

Across the world, 300 million people are supported by health and care co-operatives, but the number in the UK is relatively low. To change this, Plunkett is looking into international co-operative approaches to health and social care, rural health challenges in England and potential solutions, including existing and emerging case studies.

“We’re working with Wave on a set of tools and ideas that will be acting as ‘stimulus materials’ for our discussions and explorations with potential pioneers – drawing inspiration from a diverse range of models, be it the multi-stakeholder health care co-operatives in Canada and Italy, Han groups in Japan, friendly societies or the new social prescribing networks in England,” added Dr Luddecke.

Related: Study takes a look at world’s health co-operatives

These materials will be reviewed and finalised at a workshop with experts from the co-operative, health, social care and community sectors in London in May and then shared online and at three regional events for interested community entrepreneurs and groups across England in June and July 2017. they will be supplemented by free specialist advice and / or study visits for 10 pioneer groups who want to develop their ideas further.

“At the end of 2017, we are looking to have helped the pioneers turn their ideas into business development plans,” said Dr Luddecke.

“We’ve now got a great opportunity to open up a conversation in which people with different interests in the issues can take part and explore what is already being done elsewhere and in the UK.”

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