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Local Account - Active and supportive communities

The following information has been taken from the Local Account of Adult Social Services in Blackburn with Darwen.  The Local Account gives an overview of the range of social care services we have offered to local people during 2014/15, as well as our plans for 2015/16. To view the full Local Account document click here

Blackburn with Darwen is an area with high levels of poverty.  This means there are people who do not have jobs, and who live in poor housing with low incomes.  We know that these worries can affect the health and wellbeing of people just as much as smoking or not exercising enough.

We work with other Council departments and with local voluntary organisations to increase the range of support and activities available in local communities.

The re:fresh programme gives the people of Blackburn with Darwen the opportunity to access a wide range of leisure, health and wellbeing activities as well as health and dietary advice.  Re:fresh supports the whole community to get involved, and in 2014/15 year physical activity attendances totalled 654,998  compared to 623,071 in 2013/14 (an increase of 31,927).  50% (326,397) of these attendances were re:fresh free leisure activities.

Your Support Your Choice (YSYC), the free information and advice service to help people to live independent lives, continues to successfully signpost people to services.   Care Network became sole delivery partner of the YSYC service in October 2014 and has been working hard to develop the service and offers available from partner agencies.  During 2014/15 the service has dealt with/delivered the following:

  • Footfall - 3,379
  • Referrals - 1,338
  • Signposts to other services - 1566
  • YSYC attended 80 engagement events attracting 866 people
  • YSYC supported their 2000th customer in December 2014 and continue to expand their customer base

The service was also helped by 20 volunteers, who volunteered 2067 hours of their time during 2014/15.

Here are some comments from people who have received a service from YSYC:

"I love it here, talking, having a laugh, everybody's friendly. It's getting me away from my agoraphobia and helping me with many concerns, heat, electric, money problems and pressure, I seem to be feeling more focused."

"You have been brilliant, I couldn't have done this without you, I didn't know where to turn, or where to go for the best. Thank you so much!"

"My wife never wanted to move home, but I thought it was the best thing for us, I never knew there was so much other support available."

Spotlight on: Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP)

The Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP) in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen is a pioneering three-year partnership programme to provide better care and support for cancer patients from the moment of diagnosis to beyond treatment. 

The £1m project, which was set up to address high cancer incidence and mortality rate in the area, has created new services and invested in enhancing existing services to help create excellence and equality of care across the region. 

Among the successes achieved during the last year, include 89 GP practices and 400 GPs in the area signing up to improve cancer awareness and early diagnosis. They have helped deliver more than 800 new cancer care reviews, and standardise and improve the GP two week wait referral process, making the system of early diagnosis more efficient and effective. 

Other milestones achieved include a new team of Macmillan professionals who have been appointed to run new services, including a community Macmillan Information and Support Service delivered in partnership with the Council. 

Volunteers from the local community have been recruited and trained to provide support to people affected by cancer. 

A Macmillan Solutions service is now providing much needed practical, emotional and financial support to people affected by cancer and their families. 

A new service user group called ELCEP (East Lancashire Cancer Experts Panel) has been established.  ELCEP are a group of 'experts by experience' who are helping to make sure that service users are involved in shaping services and influencing decisions.  A collection of patient's stories has been gathered which we can use to learn from. 

Achievements 2014/2015  

  • Funding has been secured to develop the re:fresh health and wellbeing website to make it more accessible for people with a learning disability.
  • The Older People's Forum was supported to organise the 'Just Good Friends' social events at Derwent Hall in Darwen and King George's Hall in Blackburn. 
  • The Community Wellbeing Co-ordinators supported volunteers to set up a weekly arts and crafts group at Audley Lane Community Centre, Kinross Close.
  • Age UK are now running and developing the services provided from Hopwood Court.


  • There can be gaps in support and provision for vulnerable people who are not eligible for social care support.  We are working with the voluntary and community sectors to strengthen support networks in local neighbourhoods.

Priorities 2015/2016 and beyond

  • Support and develop a self-sustaining volunteering model across communities.
  • Support the development of the 'Transforming Lives' agenda through the Neighbourhood teams.
  • Continue to support the 'Your Neighbour Your Call' community capacity building initiatives.
  • Ensure the Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership developments are self-sustaining.

In focus - Support provided through 'Your Support Your Choice'

'Tom' suffered from anxiety and a loss of confidence due to many contributing factors.  He lives alone in private rented accommodation and has little support from his family. He was being treated for depression and also had mobility problems. His GP was helping him to access counselling and osteopathy services. 

Tom visited Your Support Your Choice (YSYC) to find out about services to help him feel less isolated and improve his emotional and physical wellbeing.  YSYC provided the following information and aided access to: 

  • Adult Social Services - support around rearranging a missed assessment of needs appointment
  • Age UK - befriending services
  • BwD Healthy Living - for a home visit to review his energy efficiency and support him with budgeting
  • BwD Wellbeing Service, Stop Smoking Clinic & Health Trainers - for strategies and motivational support to stop smoking and eat better and more healthily for financial, physical and emotional health
  • Community Transport, Dial-a-ride, Travel Assist - for low cost accessible travel
  • Keep Safe and Warm in Winter - a free educational event hosted at YSYC by BwD Sustainable Neighbourhoods Team in collaboration with BwD Healthy Living and Lancashire Fire and Rescue
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services - for a fire safety check
  • Lancashire Mind, Facing Up - for support around his emotional wellbeing
  • Macmillan - for promotional literature to support him with his sister's diagnosis of cancer
  • The Wish Centre - for strategies and support to manage financial abuse
  • YSYC Chill & Chat group - a social group for building new friendships and trying different activities

YSYC has put Tom in touch with a range of third sector and local authority services as well as support from his GP, providing an integrated package of care, supporting him to overcome a diverse range of challenges in his life. 

The Local Account gives an overview of Adult Social Services in Blackburn with Darwen.