What are Community Navigators?
Community Navigators are local volunteers who help people find their way to activities, services or organisations which they would enjoy, find useful or benefit from within the local community. This is an information giving and signposting project.
The Community Navigator scheme is for anyone of any age from the Wokingham Borough. You may be a young parent looking for peer support and different activities in your area, you may be a working age individual wanting to find out about local sports or music clubs and groups or you could be an elderly person looking to find support with managing a health condition or looking for new social networks to join.
Navigators are recruited, trained and supported by a volunteer co-ordinator at involve and are based at GP surgeries and community venues across the Borough of Wokingham.
People can access the service through a referral. This may be from a GP, social worker, family member or a self-referral. A time slot is booked with a Navigator who will explore a range of options in the community for the individual to engage with and will encourage them to attend groups, activities and services that can help them meet their needs.
Navigators are not counsellors or experts at dealing with particular issues and they are not going to solve a person’s problems for them – but they will help and guide the individual to discover “what’s on in their community”.
Navigators can make a huge contribution to an individual’s health and wellbeing.
Providing an Essential Link between Health Services and Local Voluntary & Community Provision
The Navigator’s relationship with the client is empowering and short lived. They will encourage and enable, but not create dependence. All Navigators will have a DBS check, will not have access to people’s medical records and will not be based in the client’s local surgery!
This project is being funded by the Better Care Fund in Wokingham Borough.
How does it work in practice…imagine this scenario
Sam is a man living on his own, he has mobility problems following a knee operation. He has difficulty getting out to do shopping, attend appointments and struggles to do his gardening. Sam attends his local surgery feeling quite down and in a bit of pain. His doctor prescribes pain killers to assist with Sam’s physical condition but feels that Sam needs more help that goes beyond medical needs. The doctor completes a referral to the local Volunteer Community Navigator Liz.
Sam meets with Liz, they discuss the situation and Liz assists Sam locating various support groups that can assist. Liz finds a local volunteer gardening service to tidy his garden, she finds a befriender service who pop in for a cup of tea and chat and will help with shopping. Liz also locates a mobility scooter service and volunteer drivers who will take Sam to medical appointments. On top of all this, Sam has a passion for playing chess. Liz manages to locate a local chess club.
Sam now gets out and about, he is meeting people and enjoying his hobby. He can get out to his garden and can get to his medical appointments with no problems. He feels much more positive about life. He is looking after himself better and his health has improved. He had no idea that all these organisations were available and wouldn’t have really known where to find them.
Liz provided an excellent service helping Sam navigate his way to finding the organisations that could help him most.