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Community agents Essex

Community Agents Essex is a countywide network of agents and volunteers who support older people and informal carers to find and develop independent living solutions from within their local community.

It is an innovative new partnership:

  • Promoting health and independence
  • Reducing social isolation
  • Finding practical solutions to daily living
  • Providing confidential trusted Information
  • Informing choice and reducing confusion
  • Increasing individual and community resilience

The service is delivered through a community and voluntary sector partnership consisting of Rural Community Council of Essex, British Red Cross, Age UK Essex and Essex Neighbourhood Watch.

Community Agents work across Essex including; Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping Forest, harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Tendring and Uttlesford. Agents visit people at home to provide practical support and advice on the following:

Mobility issues

Where equipment, adaptations, or technology could support independence, or where, travel, social interaction and physical activity could sustain and improve wellbeing.

Practical living skills

After a significant life event, such as bereavement or hospital stay, supporting people to gain or regain practical skills such as paying bills, taking medication or getting to appointments.

Social inclusion

Connecting people into one-to-one and group interactions or activities; or supporting the use of technology-based interaction and social media.

Healthy living

Enabling or supporting people to prepare meals or linking individuals into community activities such as lunch clubs.

Caring for someone

For people new to caring or for people who have been caring for some time and struggling to cope in their changing role. Helping them to access practical support, information, advice and peer support.

Individual resilience

By providing advice and support that ensures correct entitlement to benefits and pension and increases personal safety and security.

Community Agents: Caring for Sue

After a stroke Sue spent a month in hospital before being referred to Community Agents by the Community Stroke team. Sue is 84 and has lived alone since her husband’s death 16 years ago, something she has not really come to terms with. She has no immediate family and one living relative in Devon.

Before her stroke Sue was active at her local Bowls Club where she played twice a week and was able to go out and about to do her shopping using public transport.

While Sue was recovering from her illness and was able to get around at home, she had stopped leaving the house and was in danger of becoming isolated as her confidence had suffered.

Community Agents visited Sue once a week and initially they walked her to her local bus stop, discussing her anxiety alongside the benefits of being able to complete tasks independently. In just one month working with the Agents Sue has been shopping on her own and organised a taxi to take her home, she has also taken the bus to the supermarket and home again. Community Agents have discussed coping strategies to complete tasks unaided, for example asking the bus driver for extra time to get seated or asking other passengers at the bus stop whether she could board first so that she can find a seat before the bus moves off.

Sue is feeling and exhibiting more confidence and is going out alone more: “I’m really pleased with myself for being able to do all my shopping and come home by cab without help.” Without the intervention of Community Agents Sue would possibly have become more isolated and less independent and may not have been able to develop coping strategies.

For more information visit www.communityagentsessex.org.uk