Nailsea Place chosen to provide digital skills to improve public health

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 July 2017

The former youth centre which will become a health hub.

The former youth centre which will become a health hub.

Archant

A health hub in Nailsea is one of only 20 centres being backed by an NHS project to boost people’s health by improving their digital skills.

Nailsea Place has been chosen as a flagship for NHS Digital’s Pathfinder project.

There are currently only two of the projects running in England, but the aim is to grow that to 20 over the next three years.

The purpose is to increase people’s digital skills to reduce the level of unnecessary use of the NHS.

It will also help people to feel less isolated and more in control of their circumstances.

Town council clerk Ian Morrell said: “The fundamental principle is that if people improve their digital skills this is likely to benefit their health and well-being.

“This may range from being better able to access knowledge, to ordering repeat prescriptions to being able to use skype/facetime to contact family and friends.

“This concept is also closely linked to the idea of ‘social prescribing’, which GPs are increasingly using to offer non-medical options to patients.”

Nailsea Town Council bought 65 High Street to support its health hub, entitled Nailsea Place.

The new centre will bring community groups together so people can access the support they need under one roof.

People will also be able to get advice on a range of issues including care, benefits and long-term health conditions and take part in exercise classes, art therapy and support groups.

The new digital support will also be run from the hub.

Ian said: “Rather than trying to teach new skills in a classroom setting, we want to develop number 65 as a place where people will feel able to come and get advice from friendly faces in an informal setting, so a vital aspect of this project is having volunteers of all ages to help in terms of advice and support.

“We are not looking to train people in IT, but to give them tools to help themselves with specific needs, primarily using tablets and phones.

“The potential range of benefits is vast; for example, people with dementia could use a tablet to play music or look at photos as a form of reassurance.”

Nailsea Town Council is currently taking part in workshops run by The Good Things Foundation on behalf of NHS Digital in preparation for the project launch in October.

The council has been given a £50,000 grant to run the project for a year, but members are keen to continue providing the support after the pilot study ends.


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