Elderly person in wheelchair

Understanding new modes of delivering health and social care in Cornwall

Professor Catherine Leyshon and Dr Michael Leyshon are working with Age UK, Volunteer Cornwall, and the NHS to understand new modes of delivering health and social care in Cornwall. Their aim is to encourage social innovation to provide more cohesive, sustainable and resilient communities.

Britain's aging population and significant financial pressures facing the health service and wider public sectors mean that new approaches to delivering services are required. Michael and Catherine Leyshon are researching Living Well, a unique partnership between Age UK Cornwall, Volunteer Cornwall and the NHS to provide bespoke support for elderly people with long-term health conditions who are at risk of repeat emergency hospital admissions. A combination of paid staff and volunteers provide a tailored package of support that is unique to each person, helping them to manage their health conditions and reengage with their communities. The Living Well programme seeks to position volunteers as integral to the co-production of care for the elderly. Michael and Catherine have been involved from the outset in the evaluation of this programme in a pilot area in West Penwith.

Using their expertise in participatory research methods, Michael and Catherine run their signature Living Well tea parties with older people, volunteers and health care practitioners to encourage them to share their experiences of health and social care in a convivial atmosphere with cake, music and bunting.

You can follow their progress on Catherine Leyshon's (@cleyshon) or Tim Walker's (@tim86walker) Twitter feed using the hashtag #volunteersincommunities or by visiting the website volunteersincommunities.org.

Catherine Leyshon

We work closely with our project partners to provide relevant research findings. Our background in understanding local structures of feeling and cultures of volunteering, combined with our expertise in interactive participatory methods, mean that we are uniquely positioned to help Age UK, Volunteer Cornwall and the NHS to develop Living Well into a sustainable solution to the problems of delivering innovative health and social care in Cornwall.

Professor Catherine Leyshon, Associate Professor of Human Geography