Online one-stop shop connects people with communities
Read the story on the Oxfordshire County Council website or below:
Meet two women who are part of a network of champions whose mission it is to help people in Oxfordshire get the most out of life, whatever challenges they are facing.
Selina Crozier and Rosanna Fox are two of Oxfordshire County Council’s 21 ‘Live Well Oxfordshire champions’ for the Live Well Oxfordshire (LWO) website – a directory where people can find adult community support, services and information. The one-stop shop contains more than 2,200 local services and activities, a ‘what’s on calendar’ of events, and is an invaluable tool to help people remain as independent as possible.
Selina, a Witney community support service team leader, knows how dipping into the LWO webpages can help improve a person’s quality of life.
“Loneliness is a massive issue,” she said. “People are looking for activities, for clubs – they really want to get involved in things. At the moment, we’re still in a pandemic so face-to-face activities aren’t happening, but there’s so much available online for people who are lonely.
“I was talking to a gentleman the other day. He attends a community support service a couple of days a week but the rest of the time he’s home on his own except for carers who come in a couple of times a day. So, we managed to hook him up with an online book club because he loves reading. That’s just one tiny example of how the LWO site can have a massive impact on somebody’s life.
“The team here has got things teed up ready to go when we’re able to do face-to-face activities again,” added Selina. “One of our staff is working with a gentleman who is living in Oxford but who travels over to us here in Witney for his support service during the day. We’ve linked him up with a walking group in Oxford and he’s ready to start that as soon as they’re up and running again, which hopefully isn’t going to be long.”
The role of the LWO champions is to share their expertise and experience with colleagues and the public, promote the website and show people how to make the most of the information available on it. More volunteer champions are being sought around Oxfordshire to continue spreading the word and passing on information and advice to users.
“I’m lucky enough to have become one of the LWO champions, so that means I fly the flag 24/7. It’s an amazing resource and it’s just a bit underused so I’m hoping we can change that. It’s a place to go when you’re looking for support, or activities or clubs – just things to get involved with. There is lots of support there to help people stay more independent at home.
The categories on the website include:
- looking after someone
- staying independent
- money matters
- things to do
- finding a care home
- community support
- keeping fit and well
- help with life events
- five ways to wellbeing
“The website is amazingly easy to use. It’s really bold, it’s available in all sorts of different fonts, it’s easy to read so it’s accessible to everybody. The categories are really easy or you can just go into the main search bar – I would recommend it to anybody.”
Champions can also add new or existing community services and groups to the site – a task which Selina has taken on with great enthusiasm.
“Obviously, the more on there the merrier, because that’s of benefit to all our residents of Oxfordshire,” she said. “When I first started as a Live Well Champion I found that there wasn’t that much for the LGBTQ+ community on there, so I’ve made it a bit of a mission to recommend lots and lots of different clubs and groups to the site.
“People can also recommend services to the LWO site,” added Selina. “If there’s a service, group, activity or club that you’re aware of that’s not listed on the LWO site then you can fill out a really basic form on the site and recommend that service.
“One other particularly great thing about the home page of the LWO site is there is a what’s on calendar. It’s really simple to use, you just click on whatever date you’re looking at and it will bring up all the specific activities that are going on on that date, with their times. You can look months ahead if you want to plan things in advance.”
Rosanna, a special educational needs business support team officer, based in Oxford, finds it gratifying knowing that people are benefitting so much from using the site.
“The LWO website is a focal point for community services, something that’s very easy to access and informative,” she said. “There’s so much information on there for people to look at so even if you go on there looking for a specific thing, it might lead you to something else. It’s a very community-focused, informative way of meeting people.
“It’s very clear that people can go there and find the help and support they’re looking for in the same place,” she added. “I’ve had feedback from people who have said they find it very useful.
“What interested me in becoming a Live Well Champion was about having a resource that was centralised that you can point people to. I have signposted parents of children with autism to it to try to find people and support, such as other families and training. It’s very hard for them to get these things and there are resources on there that can help them.”
Karen Fuller, Oxfordshire County Council’s Deputy Director for Adult Services, said: “The Live Well Oxfordshire website allows people to maximise their independence by accessing support that’s right for them. Much of what they need is right on their doorstep which means they can remain connected to their communities without the need for more traditional formal care.”
Anyone can volunteer to become a Live Well Oxfordshire Champion – it is not limited to Oxfordshire County Council employees.
Applicants will be given online training using Microsoft Teams over a two-hour session, with follow-up meetings every two months. If you are interested, please email LiveWell@oxfordshire.gov.uk