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Strengthening voluntary, community and social enterprise connections in East Surrey

East Surrey Place leaders attend a First Community Community Forum

On Monday 5 September members of First Community’s Community Forum were invited to a workshop at Reigate Town Hall chaired by Sarah Billiald, First Community’s CEO and Senior Responsible Officer for East Surrey Place Comms & Engagement and Mari Roberts-Wood, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Managing Director and Senior Responsible Officer for East Surrey Place Prevention & Communities. The workshop brought together existing members of the Forum along with East Surrey Place leaders and additional voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) partners working with communities across Place.

Over 45 people attended the workshop which began with an introduction to the five East Surrey Place priorities (Urgent and Emergency Care, Ageing Well, Long Term Conditions, Prevention & Communities, and Mental Health) followed by updates from programme leads on the outcomes and achievements to date and actions going forward in each of the key priority areas. It also provided the opportunity to discuss what each organisation already does, and could increasingly contribute, to those priorities.

Sarah Billiald was delighted to see partners across the Place coming together and said, “The East Surrey Place partnership is committed to finding ways to more closely join up all of the work that already happens across communities and organisations in East Surrey Place to prevent, delay and reduce ill health, improve people’s lives and ease the pressure on services.

“The workshop was extremely valuable and gave Community Forum members and additional VCSE partners the opportunity to feedback to East Surrey Place leaders on what’s working well, areas for improvement and how partner organisations can work together across our key priorities. 

“There were a range of themes identified for East Surrey Place leaders to develop and take forward which included patient transport options, funding and awareness raising of VCSE services, digital inclusion across our Place along with others. The workshop also highlighted a strong need for VCSE and wider partner input within our governance structure.  

“The workshop has already initiated positive discussions and we will be taking a proposal to the next East Surrey Partnership Board in October to request VCSE representation at the partnership going forward. This would be in addition to St Catherine’s Hospice, a charity, and First Community, a social enterprise, who already have seats on the partnership as providers of health and care services. 

“As you may already know I will be leaving on 30 September after six successful years at First Community. I would like to thank everyone who has been part of East Surrey Place developments for their support, motivation and commitment to improving the health of our population. I have no doubt that the already well-established partnerships will continue to grow and work seamlessly together to deliver better quality care across East Surrey Place.”

First Community’s Community Forum meets quarterly and is a core part of the organisations governance structure to keep them grounded in the communities they serve, the wider partners they work alongside and those that use their services.

If you would like to find out more about First Community’s Community Forum, you can contact Renee Padfield, First Community’s Executive Director of Operations who will be managing the Forum for an interim period from 30 September – 1 December. From 1 December 2022, Sarah Tomkins, First Community’s new CEO will be chairing the Forum going forward.

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