News and views

24.02.2014

New online service to 'Link Me Up'

 

 

A pioneering new online service launched by charity Vibrance, will make it easier for adults and children with disabilities to link up with essential services at a click of a button.

LinkMeUp enables people receiving social care support to find the right Personal Assistant (PA) for them.

Vibrance supports vulnerable adults throughout London and the South East with learning disabilities and difficulties to challenge the barriers that prevent individual choice and fulfilment.

The project received a £10,000 grant from Skills for Care- a workforce development body for children and adults in social care. The website will act as a PA register for both individuals looking for a PA and those who are interested in becoming a PA.

Initially the register is being launched in Bexley, Bromley and surrounding areas, where currently Vibrance receive 20 enquiries each month for people looking to employ a PA.

Service users will be able to browse the new website and short list their chosen PAs, personalising the process. In turn PAs will be able to edit and update their profile as and when they need.

The LinkMeUp goal is to enable people of all ages to access chosen activities and support to live quality lives; whether this is making new friends, finding a hobby, or recruiting a Personal Assistant. The website is focused on bringing people and communities together. The register will be fully searchable, so people can find someone who matches their needs, including location, availability, experience or interests.

Chief Executive Paul Allen said: “Vibrance is committed to delivering personalised services which are flexible for our service users. We know that technology is changing the way in which social care is delivered, and we want to be pioneers of this.”

The official launch of LinkMeUp is being held at Community House, in Bromley. A holding page can currently be viewed at www.linkmeup.org.uk

Vibrance is hoping to attract 30-50 professionals to the event, including local authority commissioners, social workers, partner organisations, and other disability charities.

David Towell, of the Centre for Welfare Reform, will be attending, along with Sally Warren of Paradigm. Key speakers will include, Shirley Ayres, co-founder of the Connected Care Network, and Linda MacEachen, from Skills for Care.

A two-minute film starring Vibrance service users has been commissioned and will be shown on the day to show how the new website will help to make their lives easier. It will then be available for a wider audience to see via YouTube.

Vibrance, which has been providing essential support since 1989, offers community day services, low-support housing, nursing and care homes, respite care, supported employment and self-directed services to 850 people in nine local authority areas.

The organisation employs around 400 people and was named in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies To Work For’ in 2012.

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