Dorset’s community mental health services are improving

We are working towards improving community mental health and wellbeing support in Dorset. We know that at the moment, we don’t always get things right. Sometimes there are gaps in care and challenges in communication between services and the people we support.

We have also listened to people in our local community, who have told us that it can be confusing trying to find the right support, with similar services offered by different care providers.

Through Access Wellbeing, our mental health transformation programme, we are working with people and communities to develop a new model of care that will better meet the needs of the people who live here.

Access Wellbeing will see the NHS, councils, charities, and community groups working in partnership to deliver support, to avoid duplication and make sure we provide people with the help they really need, when and where they need it.

We want to build on some of the great work already taking place in our community, to connect services and provide everyone with access to the right support.

This is supported by the NHS Long-term Plan to transform community mental health services with a focus on people living the life that they wish to live in their community.

How will it work?

Access Wellbeing will be the way people in Dorset can access mental health and wellbeing support.

Our new model of care recognises that sometimes, the challenges we face in our day-to-day life or experiences we have faced in the past can impact on our mental health, wellbeing and connections with others, and become overwhelming without the right support.

Access Wellbeing will offer different types of support depending on a person’s need, including earlier access to help, which can prevent concerns from escalating, and empower people to support their future health and wellbeing.

Access Wellbeing aims to provide:

  • The right support – person-centred mental health and wellbeing support that can be accessed by anyone aged 18 and over

  • At the right time – access to advice and help when it’s most needed, recognising what matters most to an individual at any point in time

  • In the right way – a choice of ways to get help and support, including face to face and online, and a ‘no wrong door’ approach

The first stage of this community mental health improvement programme will see the launch of our new pilot wellbeing hubs, which will provide anyone that needs support with help and advice, plus a chance to connect with our team. The two pilot hubs in Poole and Weymouth will also give us the opportunity to hear more from the local community about the issues that matter to them. We can then shape future support together, around what people really need to take that learning into other potential hub sites around Dorset in the next stage of the improvement programme. Further plans will be coming, including a digital support offer, so watch this space.

Access Wellbeing – face-to-face support

Sometimes when you’re worried or struggling, it can be difficult to know where to turn.

The Access Wellbeing hubs provide a welcoming space for members of the local community to find support on the issues that matter to them.

Two pilot hubs are now open: Access Wellbeing Poole, which is located in the Dolphin Shopping Centre, and Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland, which is located in Hope House, close to the seafront in Weymouth.

Access Wellbeing Poole provides a drop-in service to members of the public; Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland is currently open for professional referrals only, but will be opening to drop-in visitors over the coming months.

The hubs are staffed by skilled wellbeing coordinators, supported by a team of experienced managers and administrative staff. The wellbeing coordinators are trained to provide help and advice across a wide range of areas. They have the time to listen, then can help people to access support on topics including:

Mental health and emotional wellbeing

Social connections and activities

Grief and loss/bereavement

Work, money, housing and benefits support

Support for carers and family members

Volunteering

The hub teams will help people to access support from across the local system, whether that’s through a charity or community group, the NHS, the local authority, or another service.

The hubs are available for those in Dorset 18 and over, but teams will support and signpost those under 18 to the right resources.

The two Access Wellbeing hubs in Poole and Weymouth are pilot sites and will support the development and planning of the wider Access Wellbeing model of care. The hub’s services will develop as we learn more about the needs of the community and the support that people are seeking.

Access Wellbeing Poole hub

The Access Wellbeing hub in Poole is staffed by trained wellbeing coordinators, plus other team members who will be based there at different times.
You don’t need an appointment to visit the Poole hub – you can pop in at any time during opening hours (currently 10am-4pm Monday to Friday) and one of the team will be on hand to help.

Access Wellbeing Poole is managed by PramaLife and Help & Care, working together with NHS Dorset, Dorset HealthCare, Community Action Network, Legal & General, and BCP Council, as well as other charities and community groups. It is facilitated by The Dolphin Poole.

Drop-in support will always be provided in the first instance by the wellbeing coordinators, but the hub teams work closely with other services and charities, to help link people to the right support and help. Additional services and groups will use the hub at different times, including local mental health charities, NHS mental health services, advice services, and social prescribers.

The Poole hub team will not only provide support to visitors but will also go out to communities where we know people experience barriers to accessing health services. People with lived experience will also be supported to develop projects such as peer support groups, which will further strengthen the impact Access Wellbeing Poole will make.

Where to find Access Wellbeing Poole

Access Wellbeing Poole is located The Dolphin Poole (first floor of the shopping centre, next to the car park entrance) Poole BH15 1SZ, and is currently open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday. Poole bus station and train station are also conveniently located nearby.

Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland hub

Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland is run by the Lantern Trust, in partnership with other Dorset charities and community groups, and the NHS.

Access Wellbeing Weymouth is currently open for professional referrals only, but will be opening to drop-in visitors over the coming months, once the team have ensured the right support is in place for those who have been referred with an urgent need.

The Lantern Trust has a proven track record of establishing multi-agency hubs, and already has crisis and recovery hubs in Weymouth. This allows for wider access to the Lantern’s comprehensive ‘whole person’ support offer.

The hub officially launched as Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland in February 2024, but has been in operation since May 2023. During that time, the hub has already established a range of services and support to help the local community. These include ARRS worker roles based at the hub, art groups, a women’s group, yoga groups, and support for older people. Additional services and groups will also use the hub, including local mental health charities, NHS mental health services, and drug and alcohol services.

With the integration of a team of three wellbeing coordinators, a hub manager, two admin workers and a wellbeing coordinator lead, the team have already been meeting with and integrating into the existing primary and secondary mental health offers. This has led to exciting plans about integrated referral routes, warm handovers and co-facilitated support groups delivered by wellbeing coordinators and clinical staff.

Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland will also provide outreach support within the local community in both Weymouth and Portland.

The space at the hub has two large meeting rooms, as well as smaller areas for one-to-one work and group work. We also have four office spaces on the first floor to be able to establish and build a multi-agency support offer with partners across all sectors.

Where to find Access Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland hub

Access Wellbeing Weymouth hub is located at Hope House, 2 Dorchester Rd, Weymouth DT4 7JS. The hub is on the main bus route to the town centre.

What’s next?

Together we will review, improve, and start to develop this new way of working over the next year. The pilot hubs in Poole and Weymouth will help us understand the best way to improve mental health care as we work with local communities and listen, and work with them, around what matters to them, their families and their communities.

We’ll keep listening, reviewing and developing services over the next few years to make sure they meet the needs of people in Dorset.

Get involved

If you have a query regarding the project please email dhc.mhiccprojectsupportmanagers@nhs.net.

If you are in distress or seeking immediate support please contact the Connection Service 0800 652 0190.