A new Assist Portal has been developed by the Community Council for Somerset (CCS) and launched as part of their Somerset Village Agent project. The portal helps individuals seek advice, guidance and support for a range of issues, from fuel poverty to asking for support on a community project, such as finding funding for transport to isolated rural areas.
The Somerset Village Agent project now covers over half of the county. The project uses paid, part-time, highly trained individuals living in the parish ‘clusters’ they support. They help to bridge the gap between isolated, excluded, vulnerable and lonely individuals and statutory and/or voluntary organisations which offer specific solutions to identified needs.
Lucille Simms, Village Agent for the Sedgemoor area, is spearheading the Sedgemoor trial, which CCS hopes to roll out through the rest of the Village Agent network in 2017. She said: “This is an amazing tool, that hopefully the people of Sedgemoor will find invaluable – you can book confidential online ‘live chat’ sessions, have discussions in a secure group environment with people experiencing the same issues as yourself, and generally use it as a gateway for advice to access services in your local area.”
Lucille added: “CCS is a forward thinking organisation and the portal is a vital addition and will provide a new layer to the Village Agent service. Not only does it allow another method of contact, it also bridges the gap between communities, support services and outside agencies. We often hear the term 'joined up thinking' and its merit - the portal is the means to achieve this.”
Village Agents work with all ages dealing with a wide variety of issues. Village Agents also have the role of helping to shape services by feeding back to the appropriate body information about gaps in service e.g. transport provision. The Portal opens up a whole new way that people can communicate with their Village Agent, ensuring they obtain the real support they need at a very local level.
Sedgemoor residents can access the portal at this web address: