New community enterprise development project in Dorset

An exciting two-year pilot project is getting underway in Dorset to help meet health and social care need in hard-to-reach areas of the county.

A partnership between Dorset County Council, Community Catalysts and other local key stakeholders, takes learning from Community Catalysts’ highly successful project in Somerset and aims to work with local people who want to develop small enterprises and ventures offering highly personal care and help at home to older people and others that need support in their area.

Helen Coombes, Transformation Programme Lead for adults and communities at Dorset County Council said: “We have watched the achievements that Community Catalysts have made in many parts of the country and are excited to work with them to achieve similar success in Dorset. The project is about helping local people to help local people.

“We will work with local communities, primary care, voluntary sector and community groups to help people to support each other. We are starting in areas of North and West Dorset where we have the greatest difficulty matching people’s needs with available care, with the aim to bring this approach to life across the whole of Dorset.”

Work will start in the Sherborne Rural and Three Valleys areas in West Dorset and Blackmore Vale and Winterbourne in North Dorset, where increasing the number and range of homecare and support options available to local people is seen as a real priority.

As well as helping people to set up new businesses, the partners will also advise existing community enterprises established in Dorset looking to diversify or extend what they offer.

The project will build on things that already work well, and value and nurture people, groups and organisations with strong local knowledge and expertise. It also aims to capture learning and actively use this to develop local system and culture change – working hard to improve the way that health and care works for everyone in the county.

The project in Dorset and a parallel initiative in Shropshire are supported by a partnership with technology company Bronze Labs and their Tribe web platform