GUEST COLUMN: Independence is a priority, by Coun Muriel Weisz, NCC

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There are a range of county council-funded services visible to local residents across Nottinghamshire, including the upkeep of our roads, investment in our libraries, and day services for older people and people with disabilities.

In addition, a large amount of our adult social care budget funds care and support packages for vulnerable adults.

However, a lot of work carried out by the council may not be apparent to the wider public and is around supporting people to retain their independence and to continue to have control of their care and support needs. With an estimated 23 per cent increase in Nottinghamshire residents aged 65 and over by 2025, this approach will be increasingly vital to ensure that the council’s funding is targeted at those people who need it the most.

Prevention is better than cure, so we are investing in a range of services that help reduce long-term support and promote positive outcomes for residents facing increasing need due to age, mobility problems, health conditions or bereavement.

For example, we are funding a county-wide service known as Connect that works with older people to find ways to help them to retain their independence, and to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

The service focuses on issues such as unsuitable housing or poor management of finances that may impact on people’s health and well-being.

Our customer service centre is doing a fantastic job helping residents with telephone and email enquiries and offers the level of council involvement which is most appropriate.

Around 80 per cent of these enquiries are resolved at the first point of contact.

There are a range of services that are offered either online or over the telephone, including advising people of the financial support and benefits that they are entitled to and completing carer assessments.

This frees up social care workers to focus on the more complex enquiries.

We have also set up a website known as ‘Notts Help Yourself’ that allows residents to find local services and activities in their area at the touch of a button.

With a Government funding shortfall of £50m over the next three years, we are being creative with the way we approach things to ensure our money goes as far as possible so that we can continue to provide support to those who need it most.

Visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk for more information.