Tag Archive for: health alliance

Health Alliance Meeting – 6th December 2023

Read about what was discussed at the December Health Alliance meeting.

Health Alliance Update – July

This month’s well attended Health Alliance meeting invited Heather Noble (South Place MD) and John Rooke (North Place MD).

Heather explained that they were not NHS but were all partners from across the patch. As well as North and South Place there is Mental Health and Learning Disability, as well as Children and Maternity business units. It is an evolving landscape with a matrix of activity. The South Place covers all of Cambridge, South and East Cambs, as well as touching on Royston

The aim is to align the system so that care becomes personalised and proactive and to work with the priorities that have been agreed by the Integrated Care System (ICS). Having “what matters to me conversations” to ensure that the population voice is heard.

The voluntary sector, as well as having some representation on some ICS boards, can be actively involved at Integrated Neighbourhood (IN) level. Integrated Neighbourhoods are based around a PCN footprint. At this level there is better understanding of the population- hyper local and this can enable a reduction in health inequalities.

John explained that the North area covered Peterborough, Hunts and Fenland but due to the nature of the landscape there is some relationship with Lincolnshire and Norfolk too.

The North aim to keep vulnerable people healthy and well for longer but this applies to general population too. They are looking at where people work and live to see what can be brought to them the aim being to bring equity of access.

A broad spectrum of partners are focussing on older frail people, complex children, learning disability (ensuring good quality health checks are undertaken) and childhood immunisations.

Alliance members were then given the opportunity to ask questions.

What does it look like for the individual? Some examples were given:

  • GPs attending some faith groups to discuss issues.
  • Homeless Health bus is just about to be launched.
  • Online GP registration that can be translated.

Heather told the group about the winter wellness project where 100 people were highlighted from PCNs who were at risk during the winter. ‘What matters to me’ conversations were had with those people and support was offered where needed re heating grants etc , connecting lonely people and one person had a vacuum bought upstairs so it lessened the risk of her falling whilst carrying it up and down the stairs.

How can we optimise contact with the voluntary sector who are often the most trusted people for individuals?

There is a need to make sure the voluntary sector is meaningfully engaged at IN level. In the North Place there are good links but it’s not so good for prevention. South Place are finding capacity is a problem for organisations and some neighbourhoods are yet to be established.

It was suggested that neighbourhoods could produce a newsletter to report what is happening in each area. At present the public have little knowledge of what is happening and what is there for them.

It was suggested that the Health Alliance might want to keep an open invitation for Heather or John to attend future meetings. Heather and John both asked to be invited to meetings and would attend whenever they could.

JOY/Social Prescribers

Debbie fed back the results from JOY/Social prescriber questionnaire that was sent around and feedback from Meet Your Social Prescriber Event. There are still not many organisations signing up to JOY. There is lack of understanding of its benefits/use, some hesitancy about getting many referrals, some organisations that have signed up have heard nothing since.

Social prescribers are referring into organisations but not always appropriately. There doesn’t appear to have any follow up system (ie did the referred person make use of the service/organisation). Social prescribers often refer people in and that person has not been told of waiting lists etc and thus are disappointed if they do not get helped immediately. There is no extra funding for the extra referrals.

Sandie will write up a report and meet with a few organisations for fully case studies. There will be a repeat of the “meet your social prescriber” event later in the year.

Winter Monies planning

There has been some talk about planning ahead for this this year however John Rooke thought that there probably wouldn’t be any extra this year due to monies that had been put through the system for unplanned care.

The group thought that it would have been some stock projects that could have been picked up and ran with at short notice if this, or other funding streams became available at short notice. Sandie agreed to devise and circulate a form to gather interest and ideas.

Healthier Futures fund

Andrea Grosbois reported that there had been a fair bit of interest in this. The process will be as follows:

CCF will review the applications and make sure they are applicable- they have been regularly updating the Q&As on the website to help organisations.

The district and county councils will then make some recommendations.

There will then be a judging panel- they will be given some support in what being on a panel means. The voluntary sector will be represented on the panel.


Health Alliance Update – June Meeting

Sandie Smith, Health Alliance Director

Julie (CEO of Hunts Forum) welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked POSH for letting us use their venue. Julie explained that a Health Alliance Director had been appointed and they would be taking the reins from today- Sandie Smith was introduced.

Many of you may already know Sandie- Sandie was previously the CEO of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so had been part of the first discussions with the ICS and has a great knowledge of the Health and Care system. Sandie started on the 1st of June and has a one-year part-time contract. She will be working to further the Health Alliance’s involvement with the ICS and to promote the good work that has already been achieved. She will continue to be supported by Debbie and will be chairing the meeting going forward.

Sandie plans to meet with many of the Health Alliance members, particularly those who have been involved as reps or as part of the task and finish groups. If you would like to discuss anything with Sandie please email her sandie@huntsforum.org.uk or Debbie debbie@huntsforum.org.uk

Andrea Grobois, Assistant Director of Community Strategic Partnerships, was introduced- Andrea has been in post for 8 weeks. Andrea will be attending the Health Alliance meetings going forward and will be ensuring the voluntary sector have an equitable voice in the ICS and will help address challenges. Andrea is contactable via email a.grobois@nhs.net

The action log was reviewed, and there were some updates.

The governance review had taken place, and 2 of the boards that the Alliance have reps attending have been merged with no notice to those involved. For the Alliance, this could mean over-representation. Andrea and Sandie will discuss this. It was also noted that this meeting came with 600+ pages of papers which is a massive ask. (action 34)

A safeguarding task and finish group have met, the meeting went well, and members discussed safeguarding training in the sector. It has been agreed that Sandie will draft a safeguarding action plan. (action 35)

There is willingness from North and South place partnership for a joint meeting with the voluntary sector to discuss the Hewitt report. The next steps would be to co ordinate this. (action 43)

Andrea Grobois, Assistant Director of Community Strategic Partnerships

Jenna Lusk from POSH talked about the charitable foundation’s involvement in the community and the aim to help people stay healthy and as mobile as possible. Jenna explained that the projects they run are wide ranging and funding is sought from various areas. Some projects include Yoga, Chair based exercise, walking football, healthy goals sessions, and a time out social group. Many activities take place at the football ground but there are opportunities to take some projects into the community which they do. The team often link with other organisations to enable projects to happen and have good links into Cambridge United’s foundation too.

Debbie gave feedback from the Health Inequalities task and finish group. The 3 projects that were undertaken have now been completed. Debbie had used the projects as an opportunity to speak to attendees about the ICS priorities- what did people feel about them? What do they feel is needed to achieve them? What is missing?

Debbie reported that the project that had been undertaken on the Oxmoor with families had sparked interest from other areas in the county.


The meeting then went on to look at some of the goals from the voluntary sector strategy. Sandie will be focussing on some of these going forward and Andrea will support if there needs to be ICS input.

Under Goal 1 the group discussed the funding available for the VCSE sector. The Healthier Futures Fund is the monies that are available at present and organisations will need to get their bids in for August. There have been a few questions raised.

  • How are the bids being evaluated? Initially they will be looked at by Cambridge Community Foundation, districts are being asked if they would like to review. Where is the voluntary sector voice on this?
  • It was felt more needs to be done to make it accessible to smaller groups.
  • It was felt that the “new project” approach will stop some organisations as many need funding to continue the service they already offer. Where is the money for this?
  • How can the impacts from these projects influence future commissioning.

Organisations are being encouraged to sign up to the JOY app but there is some hesitation on this. Organisations are already reporting that some have been overwhelmed by the number of new referrals they are receiving and more complex cases (no finance to support) The social prescribers often make a referral without understanding what an organisation can offer.

The Alliance members agreed that it would be good to find out who has signed up to the JOY app and if they had any implications they could share. Maybe the impact is not as expected. Debbie will ask all on mailing list for feedback on this.

The Health and Wellbeing Network have hosted a few “Meet Your Social Prescriber” events which have been popular and there is another one on 4th July 1pm on line (see link below)


Social prescribing will be added to next agenda.


Sharon Allen shared: She is part of a small advisory group working with Alessandro Bosco (ab2984@medschl.cam.ac.uk) who is part of a small research team supported by colleagues from Eastern Academic Health Science Network and ARHC. The focus of Alessandro’s work is investigating health inequalities for people needing to access medication for palliative and end of life care, particularly out of hours.

It will be really helpful to engage in dialogue with people who have had this experience, particularly those from marginalised communities and are particularly keen to engage with people in Peterborough and Fenland.

They want to share a leaflet on anticipatory medicine currently in use. The leaflet provides guidance on anticipatory medication in the community and should target end of life care.  The idea would be to explore with members of the public their ideas and views on the leaflet.

Any member organisations who think they could facilitate a focus group that Alessandro can attend and hear people’s experiences and ideas for how we can improve things. If any Health Alliance members think they could support with bringing a group together or have other information or ideas that could support with this work please contact Alessandro direct.


The Next Health Alliance meeting is July 12th 9.30 on Zoom – contact debbie@huntsforum.org.uk

To learn more about the Health Alliance and the health agenda CLICK HERE

Health Alliance Group Update April 2023

This month’s meeting was chaired by Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunt’s Forum. A welcome and a round of introductions were made as there were several new attendees. 

Julie apologised for the change in the agenda due to the proposed speaker being unavailable at the last minute.  

From the action log a question was raised around the State of the Sector survey (produced by CCVS and Hunts Forum).  

Although the survey has ended, the full report and analysis is still to be completed. Once this has been done this will be shared with anyone who would like it and put on the Support Cambridgeshire website.  

A future discussion is planned to see how more workforce data could be collected. The ICB People Board is looking at the workforce and it seems like a good time for the VCSE to be included. 

Hewitt Review 

Instead of the speaker, Julie proposed a discussion around the Hewitt Review and shared a synopsis slide deck with the group. The Hewitt review looked at the oversight and governance of the ICS arrangements. 

Read the paper HERE

A link to the full review is below. 


It was agreed that understanding how this applies in our area and which recommendations would be taken up was important for the voluntary sector going forward.  

The recommendation of 1% increase in funding for prevention (often an area the voluntary sector organisations are involved with) over the next 5 years sounds positive. Still, without knowing what the start point is or understanding if the monies are being drawn from other health areas, it is difficult for the Alliance members to have confidence in the proposal. 

It was agreed that it would be good to have a meeting with the ICS and the voluntary sector so the route going forward was clearer. Julie agreed to try and get this arranged. It was also suggested that reps that attend ICB committees also refer to the review, where appropriate, during meetings to get more incite. 

Attendees felt there was still some disconnect in this ICS between North and South place, with both doing things differently- could this exacerbate the health inequalities within our region? Both directors for North and South Partnerships are being invited to future Health Alliance meetings (subject to their availability) 

Julie’s Update 

Julie then gave a brief update on the Healthy Futures Funding that has been launched and is being managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF). This programme makes £2 million available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners across the area to deliver health and well-being improvements for local people, their neighbourhoods and communities. The minimum amount is £50k and it maybe that a few organisations will want to come together to apply. 

Applications are open from the 1st May to see more details-www.cambscf.org.uk/healthier_futures_fund 

Hunts Forum, PCVS and CCVS will be supporting groups to make applications for funds- a meeting between these organisations and CCF on what support and how it will be delivered is planned. More information will follow soon. 

Julie also mentioned that each district has also received monies for tackling prevention and supporting community engagement. Each district is using this money in different ways.  

Health Alliance successful in gaining Secretariat funding from the ICS – this funding will support the following: 

  • Programme Director 14 hrs per week – hosted by Health Alliance member = £20k key tasks ensuring implementation of the VCSE Strategy, attending high level meetings (ICB in future as per goal in Strategy), chairing Alliance meetings 
  • Project Officer 21 hours per week – hosted by Health Alliance member = £20k key tasks organising all meetings, collating feedback from reps, supporting Programme Director and Health Alliance members (currently being hosted by Hunts forum (Debbie’s role). 
  • Communications 7 hours per week – hosted by Health Alliance member = £5k key tasks circulating information and opportunities to partners 
  • Data collection 7 hours per month – hosted by Health Alliance member = £5k key tasks continuation of the data project, collating and bringing together key data sets from VCSE Health Alliance members 

Julie asked that any organisations interested in the above get in touch with her. 

 Other Updates 

As the ICS committees have not met since the last Alliance meeting any updates for these will be shared later. 

The tackling inequalities group have three projects  

  • Skill Swap – Oasis Centre Wisbech 
  • Child safety/ health – Oxmoor 
  • Chair-based yoga- Peterborough 

The skills swap event has taken place with an attendance of 16 (a few no shows) with an age range between 7 and 92. Debbie was able to have some conversations with attendees about the priorities for the ICS and capture their views and where they feel there are gaps in provision.  

The Integrated Neighbourhoods Updates  

St Neots Integrated board has met, and 3 priorities were chosen- Prevention, Mental Health and Access to services (primarily a directory). 

Huntingdon/ A1 has agreed 2 hub areas in principle- Coneygear Centre (Oxmoor) and Sawtry- The plan is to engage with existing groups to identify gaps in provision. There will be liaisons with HDC, too so that there is not duplication. 

Fenland IN have some engagement events planned in the libraries and have secured some funding to run some cooking sessions. 

Debbie explained that she is attending as many of the IN meetings as possible and linking them in with local voluntary sector organisations. As Debbie is not attending any IN in Peterborough or Cambridge it would be useful if other Health Alliance members attended these. They could give updates at the meeting or via Debbie. 

Some organisations wondered how they could be involved. The list of known contacts would be reshared after the meeting, and if anyone had an interest in a specific project, Debbie is happy to do an email introduction to the leads. 

Goals update 

 Julie briefly updated people on Goal 2- There was not much time for discussion due to the active discussions previously- However some of the goals on this are covered by previous discussion such as training opportunities. 

There is no meeting planned for May as there are several Bank Holidays. The next meeting will be the 14th June 2pm and is an in person meeting being held at Peterborough Football ground. 

Do you understand the changes happening to health?

Have you heard about the ICS? Did you know it replaced the CCG? Don’t know what either of these acronyms refers to? Are you confused by all this talk on health changes but don’t understand how this impacts you as a resident of Cambridgeshire, let alone your community group?


Health and Wellbeing Meeting

We understand, so we have set up this short and informative network session where you can update your understanding and grasp how this can link with you as a resident and community group/ charity in Cambridgeshire. You will learn more about the Integrated Care System (ICS), how it works, and what Intergrated Neighbourhoods are. Plus how your voice can be heard about the health needs you seeing in your community.

This session will be held on the 18th of April at 2:00 pm, and anyone interested is welcome to attend.

If you like to know more, then why not sign up HERE


Support Cambridgeshire website pages 

We understand that sometimes page after page of health information can be challenging. Therefore, Support Cambridgeshire have taken the information as a community group which you need to know and put it on two pages. The ‘ICS page’ explains the basic structure and outcome of the system, with the ‘Health Alliance page’ explaining the VCS board, which reports, supports and engages the voluntary sector in discussion and decisions which impact our communities.


VCSE Strategy

What you might not know is that as an integrated partner in the ICS, the voluntary sector has a strategy on how it is going to work with health, and the Health Alliance is currently carrying out the goal set out in that. If you would like to know more, then click HERE

Health Alliance Group Update March 2023

Members from the Health Alliance group met again on Wednesday, 8th March. Due to COVID-related restrictions, the meeting was changed to online. Although the numbers were slightly down on previous meetings, all the members actively contributed a lot of feedback and gave a great representation on behalf of the voluntary sector.

Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum, again chaired the meeting. Julie gave an update on the ‘Action Log’, which is a log documenting all the actions that have risen from previous Health Alliance group meetings that need further investigation or action on behalf of the group.

It was noted that a good percentage of actions had been completed and archived.  However, more actions are added after each meeting – to read the latest update and find out the group’s current priorities, please email Debbie Drew, our Project Officer (Health) debbie@huntsforum.org.uk

Representative Boards update

Julie confirmed to the group that the ICB is currently reviewing their Governance regarding the VCSE sector representation at their different boards.   They asked for feedback from VCSE Representatives, which Julie has been able to collate and pass across, highlighting some of the frustrations the representatives have experienced to date.  An example of some of these issues include;

  • The agendas are too long.
  • The papers are hundreds of pages long with too much information to digest.
  • The structure of the boards can be difficult to understand.
  • A lot of the top decisions are already made prior to the meetings.

We continue to have a good number of Representatives feeding back regularly from attending the various ICB boards and committees.  We currently have representation on the following ICS boards & committees.

  • Local People Board
  • Quality, Performance and Finance Committee
  • Commissioning and Investment
  • Supply, Information and Planning Group (sub-group of Local People Board)
  • Health and Inequality Board
  • Improvement and Reform Committee
  • North Partnership
  • South Partnership
  • Children & Maternity Collaborative
  • Mental Health Collaborative

Full details of these reports can be seen on our Health Alliance webpage each month.  Click here to read the latest reports.

Integrated Neighbourhoods update

Debbie gave an update from the Integrated Neighbourhoods – she confirmed that both St Neots and A1 Huntingdon launched recently and are now in place.  They join Fenland, Fenland South and Wisbech Integrated Neighbourhoods.

Debbie updated the group with the great community initiatives & projects which continue to be run by Fenland and Wisbech INTs.

Julie updated the members on the progress of the three key projects and the task-and-finish groups which support them. The ICB funds these projects to help support the Health Alliance’s partnership development activities. These are:

Tackling Inequalities – the task and finish group created a project to look at the ‘ask’ from families within the Oxmoor and Wisbech area. The feedback from this project highlighted two immediate inequalities & needs.

    1. Digital Inequality – older people in Wisbech need technology support & training.
    2. Healthcare Inequality – families in Oxmoor experience a need for Health Visitors and are interested in understanding how to keep children safe.

A third area of inequality was discussed around mobility for the elderly, and a potential future project was signposted.  The project would include ‘chair-based yoga’ lessons.  A tutor has been identified, and the group is already established. Funding to cover an introduction 6-week course has been proposed.

Partnership Development – the task and finish group met recently discussed and agreed the following:

    1.  Frequency of meetings including widening it to other stakeholders – group discussed that while it would be useful to have stakeholders attend it should be by invitation relevant to agenda items. Discussion on potential for in person meeting with stakeholders twice a year
    2. Whilst meetings have been regular with good attendance, we have moved from reactive agenda items to a more structured approach and this was welcomed, it was agreed to leave room on each agenda for ad hoc discussions.
    3. Widening participation and encouraging smaller groups to attend – group discussed a developing a buddying process – large supporting small – similar to the CEO Network
    4. Group discussed the need for Secretariat resource with JF asking to prepare an ‘ask’

At this point in the meeting Julie outlined the secretariat resource ask

    • Programme Director – 14 hours per week = £20k
    • Project Officer – 21 hours per week = £20k
    • Communications – 7 hours per week = £5k
    • Data – 7 hours per month = £5k
    • Representation (refund for time spent at meetings) = £10k

The total ask was £60k which the ICS is supportive of this but had a couple of questions                       which were taken to the T&R Group but are also being brought here.

    1. We will need clarity on the areas of spend for the HA £60,000 with clear expected outcomes and deliverables for this investment, by 20th April
    2. That the funding is underpinned by the VCSE MOU and Strategy which outlines our ways of working, goals, ambitions, and indicators of success.
    3. That we have agreement for one VCSE organisation to hold the £60,000 funding for the Health Alliance on an interim basis before 14 March 2023. This is confirmed in writing to the ICS and this organisation invoices NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough before 14 March 2023 for £60,000.

Julie proposes if no one else is prepared to hold the funds that Hunts Forum continues with this function for the time being.

Those present voted to accept the proposal unanimously.

Securing Funding and External Investment – the task and finish group met recently and reported on the main points raised below;

    1. Funding has been secured to extend and expand the State of the Sector survey to include additional information on health activity and research on how well the VCSE sector is delivering on healthcare services.
    2. Julie will write a brief for an external fundraiser whose role will be to write a ‘fundraising strategy’ on how multiple organisations within the VCSE sector can collaborate and bid for additional funding together.

Potential 4th New project and task & finish group

Julie proposed that the group consider creating a new ‘task and finish’ group to investigate leading a ‘safeguarding’ training certification which can be accessed & recognised across all partners.

More details on how this might work to follow.

Strategic Goals

The meeting continued with Julie updating members on the progress of the second of four strategic goals, as mentioned in the VCSE strategy.

Goal 2 – Embed the VCSE sector as a respected and equal partner in the ICS

Although we have made a lot of inroads in achieving progress in Goal One, it is fair to say we haven’t been able to achieve the same level of progress in achieving our short objectives as highlighted in Goal 2 – Embedding the VCSE sector as a respected and equal partner in the ICS.

The following table shows the areas highlighted in amber and green where we have had success, specifically around representation, data collection and investment in building partnership structures.

However, it was flagged (in red) during the meeting that there were still key areas we still needed to address.  These included.

    • Setting up a training programme to offer confidence skills and encourage more members to become representatives.
    • Overcoming the technical barriers to develop the partnership between VCSE and Health & Social Care
    • Data and information sharing – finding new equal ways of accessing IT systems and data which support improved health and wellbeing.

Julie again reiterated that more participation from the VCSE sector is needed to join the Health Alliance and help raise the group’s profile. If anyone is interested in attending future meetings or knows of anyone else, please email debbie@huntsforum.org.uk to register.

Julie concluded the meeting by highlighting two funding opportunities which are about to be launched targeting the VCSE sector. These include;

    • Healthier Future Fund – £2m allocated for projects led by VCSE partners.
    • Tackling Prevention & Supporting Community Engagement – £1.2m allocated to the district council for working with Places and VCSE.

The next meeting is scheduled for 12th April between 9.30 am – 11.30 am online.

Health Alliance Group Update February 2023

Members from the Health Alliance group met again on Wednesday, 8th February, online. We had a good turn-up of members from volunteer organisations, which gave a good representation of the VCSE sector.

The meeting was chaired by Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum.  Julie gave an update on the ‘Action Log’, which is a document listing almost 30 tasks the Health Alliance group has identified in previous meetings that need further investigation or action with the ICS or ICB.

The action log previously raised a question about Jargon busting. Debbie Drew, our Project Officer (Health) shared with the Alliance this https://www.cpics.org.uk/jargon-buster

Although a lot of progress has been made so far with members offering support and involvement in attending the numerous ICS boards, Julie reiterated that as a group, we needed more individuals from the voluntary sector to engage and share information and priorities from the ground level.  We have a great opportunity now to highlight to the ICS the key issues and frustrations facing the VCSE sector and our communities.

Julie then introduced Paul Taylor, Primary Care and HR Service,  Staff Support Hub Lead.

Paul gave a presentation introducing the Staff Support Hub (SSH).  The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough SSH are one of 40 hubs set up during COVID national.  These hubs were initially set up to help individuals in Social Care & Health, including the volunteer sector, whose mental health was being affected during COVID.  Paul explained that Cambridgeshire & Peterborough came ‘late to the party’ and thus only launched their SSH services around 18 months ago.

Paul went on to give a full presentation on the impact of the SSH, which so far has helped in the reduction of sickness and health for staff from across Health & Social Care.  Whilst mental health, including stress and anxiety, are still the biggest reasons for being off sick, the team at SSH are pleased to announce that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have the 6th lowest workforce sickness rate in the country.

The Staff Support Hub has supported the following activities in our region:

  • Access to the Working Well programme – to help individuals remain at work.
  • Support helpline (between 11 am – 7 pm) through the Lifecraft Mental Health Charity
  • Wellbeing Webinars and Forums – covering key areas such as long COVID and Menopause
  • Signpost to Psychological well-being and Counselling services

To access the video showing Paul’s full presentation to the group

Unfortunately, Paul confirmed that a decision had been made by NHS England to cease all funding for the SSH nationally from the end of March 2023.  However, as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough programme started late and thus had money left in the budget, they will be able to keep operating a full service until September 2023.

However, from 1st of April, they will need to cut back on some services, including the Helpline and will be forced to bring it in-house, and will be monitored by existing staff.  For full information about the reduced services, please refer to their website www.staffsupporthub.org

Strategic Goals

The meeting continued with Julie updating members on the progress of one of four strategic goals, as mentioned in the VCSE strategy.

Goal 1 – Support and enable a vibrant and thriving VCSE sector to play its part

We have come a long way since the sign-off of the strategy some 10 months ago.  Although some progress feels very slow, the Health Alliance group has made some significant inroads in improving the relationship between the VCSE sector and the ICS.

The following table shows the progress we have made in achieving our short-term goals to-date.

We now have around 100 organisations actively involved within the VCSE sector. However, more work still needs to be done, and the Health Alliance group need more organisations to help further raise the profile of the VCSE sector and highlight all support we need.

Integrated Neighbourhoods update

Debbie gave an update from the integrated neighbourhoods she attends but is awaiting the priorities from others in Cambridge and Peterborough. St Neots launched their Integrated Neighbourhood on 7th but there are still several others due to be launched this year.

Representative Boards update

We continue to have a good number of Representatives feeding back regularly from attending the various ICB boards and committees.  Full details of these reports can be seen on our Health Alliance webpage each month.  Click here to read the latest reports.

Finally, Julie finished the meeting with an update to the members on the three projects funded by the ICB to help support the Health Alliance activities in developing the partnership. These include:

Tackling Inequalities

A meeting was held last week. A verbal summary was given on the main points discussed and agreed during the meeting. These include;

  • The data project between CAB and Healthwatch is still being compiled and scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2023.
  • The project group decided to focus on Wisbech and the Oxmoor Estate. Key focus areas identified included ‘family prevention’ and ways to engage with the local community to understand the key issues they are facing at ground level and what support they need.

Partnership Development

This project group hasn’t met yet, but high on their agenda they will be looking at the following issues;

  • Look at ways for Hunts Forum to step back from having a key role in the running of the Health Alliance, potentially recruiting a new ‘lead’ for the group from the VCSE sector.
  • Encouraging new members into the Health Alliance from across the VCSE sector
  • Set up a training programme to offer confidence skills and encourage more members to become Representatives.

Securing Funding and External Investment

This group met last week, and a verbal summary was given on the main points. These included;

  • CCVS & Hunts Forum have expanded the State of the Sector survey to include PCVS and gather data on how our VCSE sector has survived COVID; this baseline data will help the Health Alliance to target areas of work and bring VCSE groups closer together.
  • Fundraising Strategy  – Julie to contact two consultancies to write a proposal on how the VCSE sector could work collaboratively to write bid applications for funding or commissioning work.

The next meeting will be on 8th March and will be a face-to-face meeting held in Cambourne between 2 pm – 4 pm. If you would like an invite, please email debbie.drew@huntsforum.org.uk.

Health Alliance Group Update January 2023

On the 11th of January 2023, the Health Alliance group met again, face-to-face and online, via the hybrid facility at the Maple Centre.  The meeting attracted a lot of new faces and was deemed a successful way to hold the meeting and will be adopted again later in the year.


Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum, chaired the meeting.  She opened the meeting by introducing Graeme Hodgson, Adult Social Care Commissioning Manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, who came and delivered a presentation on Care Together: Happy at Home, which is a programme designed to offer support to older people to continue to live at home, with a good quality of life, for longer.

Graeme Hodgson, Care Together: Happy at Home



Care Together: Happy at Home

Graeme confirmed the launch of their new programme, Care Together, Happy at Home project.  Care Together is looking to encourage local communities and partners to design and develop local services to enable the older and less able population to fulfil their wish to remain independent at home for as long as possible.

Graeme announced that Cambridgeshire County Council is keen to work with local partners, including micro-charities and social enterprise organisations, to deliver a locally ‘place-based’ solution to reach as many ‘vulnerable ‘people in the community who need the most help & assistance.

There are four ways for the VCSE to access the Care Together funding and work with the County Council to set up the best provision for delivering the care needed.  These are:

  • Enter a bid through the new ‘opt-lead provider’ model (currently in development)
  • Apply for Seed funding for the expansion or creation of community assets supporting older people in the community. £275k funding monies will be split by locality across Fenland, East Cambs, South Cambs, Hunts & Cambridge City.
  • Apply for Capital Investment Fund for physical infrastructure, adaptions, accessibility of community spaces etc.
  • Apply for commission services via a new streamlined framework (currently in development)

Graeme explained that the Care Together project has been launched  recently and he is actively looking to work closely with Health Alliance members to gain further insights from the volunteer sector. He is keen to identify the current ‘gaps’ in areas of poor delivery and encourage micro-providers to get more involved.

Graeme’s presentation on the launch of the Care Together programme can be accessed here.

Julie confirmed we have a good number of Representatives feeding back regularly from attending the various ICB boards and committees.  Full details of these reports will be made available on the Health Alliance webpage in the next few weeks.

Finally, Julie gave a presentation updating the members on three projects funded by the ICB to help support the Health Alliance activities in developing the partnership.  Some monies from the original 200k are still available. Julie requested that members utilise this opportunity to get more involved in each project and join one of the task groups to help the group allocate the remaining monies in the best way possible.  These projects are:

  • Tackling Inequalities – £30k of funding is still available. A data project was commissioned last month with CAB and Healthwatch to look at health data figures across our region. This data will be used to identify areas of inequality, but help is still needed to target specific areas.
  • Partnership Development – £50k of funding is still available. Some of these monies will be assigned to the continued support of the admin & comms function and paying an allowance to all Representatives to cover their time. A training programme will be developed to offer confidence skills and encourage more members to become Representatives.
  • Securing Funding and External Investment – £25k of funding is still available. Two consultancts have been identified to work with the task and finish group on a Fundraising Strategy, enabling VCSE organisations to work together and enter combined bids.

The next meeting will be held on 8th February and an online meeting between 9.30 am – 11.30 am. If you would like an invite, please email debbie.drew@huntsforum.org.uk.


Health Alliance Group Update December 2022

The Health Alliance group met online on the 14th of November to update the members on the progress made by the ICS and VCSE sector in working together to deliver the goals as set out in the VCSE Strategy.

The meeting was chaired by Kathryn Shepherdson, Deputy CEO of Hunts Forum; It was good to see another healthy representation from across the voluntary sector.

Kathryn opened the meeting by introducing Nicci Briggs, Chief Financial Officer at the Integrated Care Board (ICB), who came and spoke about her role and responsibilities and how funding is transferred across the sector.




Her Role & Responsibilities

Nicci is responsible for looking after the commissioning provision across the whole landscape and the different statutory responsibilities within the Integrated Care System (ICS) regarding the commissioning & performance of providers.

She looks after £1.7 billion system spending across the health allocation covering Mental Health, Acute Primary & VCSE sector.  She sees her role as helping the ICS make decisions more quickly, offer more personalised care and remove existing barriers and boundaries that restrict care services around these critical areas:

  • Primary Care
  • Social Care Engagement
  • Service Transfer
  • End of Life/High Users

Over the next two years, her top priorities will focus on ‘Health & Equality’ within the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough region and identify more significant opportunities to address primary care issues.

Nicci explained how the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) sits alongside the ICB and is responsible for implementing the strategic direction for Social Care and Health. They also create the Health & Wellbeing Strategy and have input into key partnerships and coalitions with community partners such as the Better Care Fund (BCF) & Adult Care Discharge Fund.

Nicci explained that they are looking at a 6% growth in Care Services and see the NHS unpicking some of their larger funds to free up additional money to focus on localised care prevention and health & equality, mainly.

The ICB has created North & South Place partnerships that will work across our region and be responsible for delivering local care services and health & equality through Integrated Neighbourhoods Teams (INT), previously Primary Care Networks (PCN)

They are still in their infancy and not fully operational throughout the County, but they will eventually look at local issues and priorities for their patch and decide what actions need to be taken.

Nicci said that are three routes for the voluntary sector organisations to inform the ICB. Nicci recommended best routes to pass on information to the ICB are:

  1. Through the Integrated Neighbourhood teams (until the North and South Place partnerships are ready – they will feed back direct to PCN).Here is a link to access all the local INT/PCN  https://cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/health/healthcare/
  2. Forum – like the Health Alliance & other networks to gain direct access to key individuals within the ICB, like Nicci Briggs and Kit Connick, who have previously attended the Health Alliance meetings.
  3. Participate in the new voluntary sector forum the ICB is looking to launch to enable them to engage directly with the voluntary sector.

Data Collaboration Presentation

Michael Mitchel from the CAB then followed with his presentation exploring the idea of data collaboration between charities in Cambridgeshire.  This was a piece of work commissioned from an earlier meeting.   The CAB and Healthwatch agreed to collect data relating only to health and community care interaction.

Rachel Talbot and Michael asked for any feedback from Health Alliance members on what other data they might find useful.

The next meeting will be held on 11th January and a hybrid meeting (both online and face-to-face at The Maple Centre). If you would like an invite, please email debbie.drew@huntsforum.org.uk.


Health Alliance Group Update November 2022

The Health Alliance group met on the 9th of November in Peterborough to update the members on the continual progress being made by the ICS and VCSE sector in working together to deliver the goals as set out in the VCSE Strategy.

The meeting was chaired again by Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum and was held at 100a Central Avenue in Peterborough. It was good to see some new faces attending the meeting from across the voluntary sector.


Julie opened the meeting by introducing Jane Coulson and Katerina Lagoudaki from the Integrated Care Board (ICB), who came and spoke about the ‘Let’s Talk’ survey the ICB is currently conducting.  This survey has been developed to show insight and receive feedback from the public and voluntary sectors on key health and care issues affecting the community.  It has now been running for five weeks and is due to close this week.  The survey has received over 2200 responses so far.

The findings from this survey will add insight to the Joint Health & Wellbeing Integrated Care Strategy and help the ICS set objectives which will be included in their Operational Plan due March 2023.

The Operational Plan will focus on building the infrastructure to deliver ‘person-centred care’ within our local communities. It will lay out the following four key priorities for the ICS, which will focus on;

  • Children – ensuring children are ready to enter and exit education
  • Environment – for people to remain as healthy as possible, including outdoor spaces and access to services
  • Poverty – reducing poverty, lack of housing & debt control
  • Mental Health – finding early intervention solutions

During the meeting, Julie received approval to sign off the Terms of Reference (ToR). This document reiterates the ambition of the Health Alliance group, stipulating the membership rules and aims and goals the group wishes to achieve.

Click here to open the Terms of Reference (ToR)

We have now completed the list of Voluntary Sector Representatives who represent the VCSE sector on many of the ICS Health boards and Committees, including the contact names of the Chair & Vice Chairs (where known).

Click here to open the VCSE Representation List.

The meeting concluded with Julie highlighting two areas of work the Group is currently working on – specifically ‘Health Inequalities’ and ‘Securing Funding’.

More action was agreed upon to investigate how much funding is currently coming into the VCSE sector, where the gaps were and if any external funding opportunities were available.  Healthwatch and CAB agreed to look at what data was already held in the voluntary sector and report back to the Group.

Action points still ongoing                                                   

  1. All members agreed to forward ‘content’ that can be uploaded and shared via a regular newsletter to all members detailing key activities, events, and feedback from attending the various health boards.
  2. A few members expressed concern over their commissioning contracts, particularly the delays in renewing their contracts, with many charities forced to operate ‘as a going concern.  Julie offered to send a letter signed by CEOs expressing their collective concerns direct to the CPICS.
  3. Create a ‘slide deck’ for Reps to use at ICS Boards and Committees to support them when they represent the VCSE sector at meetings

Any other business

Due to the extra bank holiday in May, it was proposed and agreed that we would not hold a meeting during this hectic month.

The 9th  December meeting will be held online. If you would like an invite, please email debbie.drew@huntsforum.org.uk.