Smart Health Inclusion Peer Advocates (SHIPS) is a peer support service in Bradford and Leeds.
The service delivers one-to-one engagements to enable people experiencing digital exclusion to access the health and welfare services they need to be able to self-care.
Referrals are made by the in-house team and agencies within Bradford and Leeds.
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- Improve digital literacy for peer volunteers and clients
- Support people to overcome barriers to accessing health and care
- Increase knowledge, confidence and motivation to manage health and engage with healthcare
- Increase knowledge, confidence and motivation to engage with digital platforms for both clients and volunteers
- Decrease reliance on emergency and secondary care
- Link clients into a wide range of welfare support
- Promote self-care and illness prevention
- Enable recovery and independent living
- Support volunteers to gain confidence and skills and to progress into employment or training
The service is made up of three components.
1. Peer advocates
The service will recruit, train and support volunteer Peer Advocates with lived experience of homelessness and/or the refugee and asylum seeker process.
Peers shared experience with clients enables them to build the trusting relationships required to get people to appointments.
Peers also acts as role models – proving you can improve your health, gain independence and move on.
2. Advocacy support
Our Peers will provide one-to-one support to patients who are digitally excluded and would benefit from support to improve their digital skills and overcome barriers to accessing healthcare.
Peers will build relationships with clients over time and will assess their individual needs in relation to health and digital skills. All peers will be equipped with mobile technology and trained to be independent advocates and digital champions.
This will enable them to work with their clients to ensure they understand what support they can access; understand their rights to accessing healthcare; support them to access the healthcare they need when they need it; and develop digital skills which will help them to engage with a wide range of services to support health and wellbeing.
3. Practical support
Peer Advocates will give practical help to clients such as support to book and attend both face to face and virtual appointments and registering with a GP and other primary care services such as dentists and opticians.
We will support clients to prepare for and co-ordinate their appointments; develop understanding of the roles of different professionals and services; ensure they not discriminated against; and ensure that they communicate effectively.