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C & R Network Online Surgery

This page will be used for any questions or comments you have (and wish to share) on the projects that make up the Capability and Resilience Network. Please contact the Network's co-ordinator.


22 June 2005

Dear Mel
Let me just say to start with how pleased I am to see this work on resiliency and capability.

I have just come out of a policy position within Strategic Services in our agency taking up a mental health position to build resilience in children, young people and young adults - the latter in rural communities. Within that context we very much believed that capability and social networks are keys to effective social health policy. Indeed I attach a small file showing the model we adopted as an explanatory tool to open up dialogue about pathways to "health and wellbeing" ( a term we constantly use).
I came across your site as result of exploring links from the SDOH list.

My own position is that tackling the SDOH is a key part of the answer and agree with your suggestion for example that transport could be a key feature of tackling some rural based isolation. Tasmania is probably like Ireland in that we have a lot of scattered rural communities, in our case with very small populations, and therefore difficult to provide services to.

Alan Sutherland
Community and Individual Resiliency Project
Mental Health Services (South)
Department of Health and Human Services
New Town, Tasmania, Australia

28 April 2005

Dear Mel

My name is Dafydd Gwynne and I work as a Health Partnerships Advisor for Anglesey County.
In a presentation about the Network I attended, you talked about the 'Capability Interpretation', where you commented that the role of social policy is to maintain/develop social links between people/communities - in respect to Anglesey, of which >90% is 'rural' and has an increasingly ageing and isolated population, what is the evidence for interventions to improve capability?

Ymgynghorydd Partneriaeth Iechyd
Health Partnership Advisor
Cyngor Sir Ynys Mon
Anglesey County Council

Dear Dafydd

Our projects are increasingly showing the importance of people’s social networks. Prof Schoon (City University project) and Prof Blane (Imperial college project) have some evidence that close and supportive relationships seem to make quite a difference to people who are facing various forms of adversity, such as having to bring up a child in a low-income household, or the onset of chronic illness as they grow older. In fact, the quality of relationships even seems to protect very young children, in terms of how well they are developing psychologically, to the extent that children in low income households hardly do any worse than those in better-off homes. You ask in particular about a community where there is a growing number of older people and the population is sparse. Here the work of one of the geographical projects might be relevant: Dr Mitchell’s group in Edinburgh are beginning to think that public transport is one of the factors that has maintained health in areas that experienced economic decline during the 1980s and 1990s. Because our own and other research constantly indicates that feeling in control of one’s life protects physical and mental health, I would think the transport links would have to be good ones, not the kind that leave people feeling angry at a poor or inconsistent service. I also wonder if the success of ‘Sure Start’ for young children will eventually lead to the idea that there should be similar schemes for people of all ages, similarly developed on the basis of what services users decide they need, and run by service users. This kind of thing could improve social networks and at the same time increase people’s sense of control and autonomy.

Mel Bartley
Capability and Resilience Network Co-ordinator

Dear Mel

I totally agree with the Transport issue - some of the ways we're trying to address this is by providing services more locally (such as Tai Chi classes for older people in village halls), and also
Promoting the car-link service provided by the voluntary sector. However, as you know the problem is complicated, as we have issues such as older people moving to Anglesey to retire who are, therefore, more isolated from the local community and their families who live miles away. Ironically, our 'Communities First' areas (most deprived) are the ones which are doing
better as they're benefiting from all the 'community development' projects, where the more rural areas (which used to be affluent farming areas) are suffering most.

Again, your help is much appreciated.

Kind regards,


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