Header image for the current page Working in partnership with The Young Foundation

Recognising the need for creative solutions to tackle health challenges, NHS Arden & GEM CSU has worked with The Young Foundation to understand and build capacity among the third sector to provide services that could address current and future care needs.

"This project is about building a new cadre of organisations who can secure funding, be sustainable, bring new ideas and change the way we deliver health services. This is one example of how we are supporting our clients to develop innovative solutions which improve patient outcomes and service efficiency."


Wendy Lane, Director of Transformation, NHS Arden & GEM CSU

The challenge

Effective health service delivery is dynamic. Populations grow and change, and as people live longer, so their needs become greater and more complex.

Part of our role is to help clients spot opportunities and identify new ways of delivering services which tackle the most pressing health and social care issues. Based on our understanding of the range of services and skills available in the community and third sector, we funded a pioneering project, delivered in partnership with The Young Foundation. The project was designed to identify, understand and build the capacity of social ventures to engage with, and respond to, health priorities across Coventry, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Our approach

We began by inviting community groups and charities to put forward expressions of interest to address some of the most challenging health concerns across the Arden patch (Coventry, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), including a growing frail and elderly population, smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption.

Over one hundred responses were received which were shortlisted down to fifteen based on the strength of each idea, its relevance to commissioning priorities, likely impact on outcomes and whether it could be replicated elsewhere.

The 15 social ventures focused on three core areas:

  • Care for the elderly/hospital entry and exit care
  • Long term conditions
  • Harder to reach and underserved groups

We invested in a dedicated resource to work directly with the fifteen shortlisted social ventures. A social entrepreneur from The Young Foundation prepared the organisations for a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to the project team, Clinical Commissioning Groups, local authorities and other stakeholders. The organisations were given coaching, support in developing their business plans, pitch preparation and presentation training and the opportunity to discuss their proposals with members of our team.

With the support they received, all shortlisted organisations were able to:

  • Understand CCG pressures, priorities and the commissioning cycle
  • Develop effective proposals which could lead to improved health outcomes
  • Create a credible offer
  • Demonstrate added value
  • Build their organisational capacity
  • Pitch with evidence of impact.

"The project has helped ASPIE plan better for the future and understand more fully the needs of the CCGs."


Julia Micklewright, ASPIE

The outcomes

At the pitch, CCGs, local authorities and other stakeholders heard innovative ideas for a range of potential services including befriending schemes for the elderly, therapies for those with long term conditions, a community-based weight loss programme, and schemes to address those who frequently attend primary care. Most ideas were from local organisations, but the services have the potential to be offered on a larger scale.

Two organisations have since had their services commissioned:

  • Diabetes UK has been commissioning by NHS South Warwickshire CCG to provide a project to train staff in residential care homes to better manage people with the condition
  • NHS Warwickshire North CCG, in conjunction with the local authority, has commissioned Nuneaton and Bedworth Health Living to deliver a ‘weightbusters’ project to deprived areas, teaching local people how to select the right food for a healthier lifestyle.

As a result of the project, third sector and community organisations have a better understanding of CCG priorities and pressures, while CCGs have an improved understanding of the skills and expertise available in the third sector.

"We have found the whole journey with The Young Foundation and our fellow social ventures valuable, rewarding and supportive. We have made new friends and professional connections as well as having space to think, create, focus and refine our offer for CCGs with practical, objective advice and guidance."


Julie Horsley, Weavers of Wellbeing

Next steps
The next stage of our partnership with The Young Foundation will focus on two key health priorities for our local CCGs: older people and mental health.

The mental health project began in autumn 2014 and is currently hosting a series of workshops for a wide range of stakeholders involved in the delivery of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

"This programme that we are running in partnership with NHS Arden & GEM CSU is unique. We’re helping social enterprises and not for profit organisations take an innovative approach to tackling some of the highest priorities of the Clinical Commissioning Groups. Many of these ideas could be rolled out across the country."


Simon Willis, Chief Executive, The Young Foundation

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