THE DEADLINE to hand in nominations for the 2018 Observer-supported Solihull Together Awards is two weeks away.
So now is the time to get those thinking caps on to make sure those who provide outstanding care and support for adults in Solihull get recognised for their hard work and dedication before time is up at midday on January 29.
Since the launch of the awards, we have been looking at the award categories and sharing some of the stories behind the 2017.
With nine categories to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to recognise the achievements of residents and volunteers, health and care professionals who are making life better for vulnerable and frail adults.
This week we are looking at the Outstanding Customer Care for adults category.
In 2017 the award was shared between two deserving winners, the home library service from Solihull Council and Solihull Integrated Addiction Service (SIAS).
Joint winner: Home Library Service, Solihull Council
Part of Solihull Council’s library services, and run by Gill Masefield and Ian Fellowes, the homes library service delivers boxes of books free to around 230 Solihull residents every four weeks.
The service is designed to go to people’s homes or residential homes and deliver books (including large print format and audio books) for people to enjoy.
Gill said there are criteria for using the home library service but it’s flexible.
She added: “We support people who are not completely housebound but they would struggle to walk to the library or carry the books home. We don’t want to stop them being independent. And we cater for carers if they are unable to get to the local library.”
Sometimes Ian and Gill are the only visitors people have during the day, week or even month.
“We see people who have no family contact, no hobbies”, Gill said. “They don’t want you to feel sorry for them but they can be quite low when you go in. When you leave you can see that they’ve lifted. That contact is so important.”
Speaking about being joint winners of the Outstanding Customer Care category at the Solihull Together Awards Ian and Gill said: “We don’t feel we are doing anything more than we did 10 years ago.
“We’ve just tried to make the Home Library Service the best we can. But it’s satisfying for us to know that our work is appreciated.”
Joint winner: SIAS (Solihull Integrated Addiction Service)
SIAS is a partnership of organisations working together to support the needs of people with addiction concerns and their significant others.
Formed in 2008, it provides a range of services including tailor-made treatment packages, family engagement, recovery support and reintegration into the community.
SIAS Service Manager Kate McLeod said the organisations have worked together to support clients with a history of alcohol or drug issues who regularly called ambulances and were admitted to hospital.
She added: “The FAST project was set up in 2016 to engage 10 ‘treatment resistant drinkers’ in treatment.
“We planned to reduce reliance on hospital staff and provide more appropriate support within the community.”
The project involves organisations including police, community mental health services, GPs and housing associations.
The results were almost instantaneous, with ambulance callouts from these clients falling from 92 in February 2016 to just three in April.
One man was known to attend a hospital within the region at least once a day. Working with the alcohol team and the ambulance service, SIAS worked with him and set up a team to address his drinking and other issues including homelessness.
He is now settled, registered with a local GP, accessing his benefits and has not called an ambulance since August 2016.
Kate acknowledges that numerous agencies work together to make a difference for Solihull residents who need support with addiction.
She said: “I was of course already very proud of our service, but winning this award has helped to raise our profile. The team works hard with other agencies every day to help people in Solihull so it feels great to have our efforts recognised.”
For more information about all the award categories and to submit an online nomination visit www.solihulltogether.co.uk/awards You can also find out more by following the Awards on Twitter @ST4BL.