Innovation Fund helping people to stay well and independent

This story was published 18 September 2017

More than 550 people around the county have been supported in a series of projects recently funded through our Innovation Fund.

cover of impact report

The fund was set up to help voluntary and community organisations to develop services or projects that enable people to be less reliant on statutory health and social care support. The fund is managed for the County Council by Knaresborough-based Your Consortium, which supports voluntary and community enterprises.

More than £1.5m has been invested in dozens of projects since the Innovation Fund was set up in 2011. Your Consortium has now published an evaluation of the impact of projects supported in 2015 and 2016.

People who took part were asked before and after how they felt about aspects of their wellbeing. The report says: “Analysis of the questions demonstrates a clear overall improvement in emotional health and wellbeing.” It adds: “The Innovation Fund had a measurable impact on the health and wellbeing of the North Yorkshire residents that took part. There were measurable improvements in mental health, perception of personal value and improvements in social connections.”

Cllr Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Services and Health Integration, said: “This investment supports the County Council’s priority of helping people to maintain their independence and to encourage local communities to care for their residents.

“The Innovation Fund supports the transformation and sustainability of adult health and social care in North Yorkshire by helping voluntary and community organisations to devise innovative approaches to early intervention and prevention. The success of these recent projects builds on earlier work supported by the fund.”

A further eight projects received funding earlier this year and will be evaluated when they have been delivered.

The current round of funding will be the last in its current form. In future, innovation funding will be incorporated into the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme, which supports development of community-run services that improve the health and wellbeing of older people, vulnerable adults and carers.

Your Consortium’s full report can be found on their website at

Schemes supported by the Innovation Fund in 2016 were:

Age UK North Craven, Craven: Programme to give advice and support to help older people to reduce their vulnerability to serious downturns in health during the winter and at home.

Age UK North Yorkshire, Harrogate: The “Staying Steady” project will continue to work with health and care professionals to improve access to falls prevention services for older people who are at risk of falling or have a history of falls.

Esk Moors Caring, Scarborough: Community and social activities to address loneliness in rural and isolated parts of North Yorkshire.

Horton Housing Association, Craven and Selby: Continue to deliver weekly Horton Community Cafes in Craven and Selby district with support from community workers and specialist provision by external agencies.

Orb Community Enterprise, Harrogate: Get Creative project aims to continue and expand its original work providing a core evening and weekend programme of crea­tive activity for adults with mental health challenges.

Pioneer Projects (Celebratory Arts) Ltd, Craven: A ‘Making Art’ session for people living with dementia and their carers.

Purple Patch Arts, Selby: The Purple Patch Arts Lifelong Learning Programme will run weekly in Selby during term-time. It will offer 10 adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to take part in an arts education programme.

Ripon Community Link, Harrogate: A musical group, The Music Men, performing social musical events combined with providing information on local services.

Rural Arts, Hambleton: Delivery of exciting and creative workshops for older people, using the iPad to break down people’s fear of new technology and build their confidence in using this medium to express themselves.

Scarborough & Ryedale Carers Resource, Ryedale: Provide a support service focusing on carers’ health needs by encouraging them to complete a detailed wellbeing check. Carers are given access to health information and any issues identified on the check.

The Clock, Hambleton: Time for Time will be an intergenerational project delivered by members of The Clock’s team supported by volunteers (both young people and adults). It will be open to all adults who wish to improve their social or emotional wellbeing.

The Rainbow Centre, Scarborough: The project aims to increase provision that supports mental and emotional wellbeing by offering supported opportunities for volunteering to community members who are recovering from alcohol or other substance misuse, those living in the community with mental health problems and others in the town who are on the margins of society.

Yorkshire Yoga, Harrogate: Delivery of a programme of yoga, Pilates and exercise techniques to address the physical and psychological needs of older adults in Harrogate district who experience long-term health problems, are at increased risk of falling or are socially disengaged.