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New roles of Third Sector Representatives are available across North Cumbria to allow community and voluntary groups to be more involved in the development and delivery of vital health and care services throughout the county.

Some Third Sector Representatives have been recruited already to help support the health and wellbeing of local communities.

The move to recruit new Representatives comes as part of plans set out in 2018 to transform the way health, care, third sector organisations and communities work together in North Cumbria through the development of eight Integrated Care Communities (ICCs).

These communities aim to provide more joined up health and care services, more care out of hospital and empower people to take charge of their own health.

As part of the ICC work, Clare Edwards started as Health Partnerships Officer to ensure the third sector is fully involved in these plans and the new Third Sector Representatives will ensure further progression.

Clare told the Cumbria Crack: “Cumbria has a large and diverse third sector, made up of organisations that play a huge role in the lives of our communities. They range from community groups run by volunteers to large local charities and social enterprises.

“They are so important to the health and wellbeing of our communities and so it is vital that they are able to work closely with health and care providers.

“I’m really excited for the new representatives to get started and help us to further develop the work of ICCs in north Cumbria.”

Each ICC will have two Third Sector Representatives who will attend monthly delivery group meetings and support the ICC leadership teams using their knowledge of the sector. They will act as a link to other third sector groups in their area to discuss their views and promote the services they deliver.

The representatives come from a wide range of organisations across Cumbria’s third sector, such as Age UK, Mencap, and Cumbria Youth Alliance.

Iain Atkinson, British Red Cross Mobility Aids Service Hub Manager and Third Sector Representative for Carlisle Network ICC, said: “I think there is a great opportunity for the ICC hubs and third sector to integrate more effectively.

“Within the third sector there is a lot of support, knowledge and skills and putting channels in place to improve access to this is a great step forward. I’ve attended my first meeting which was so very positive; the team made us feel very welcome and included. It’s an exciting start to a new venture.”

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