Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Prestigious national award for Margate Task Force Officers

Officers from Margate Task Force have been recognised by the Department of Health for achievements in Public Health through Innovation Collaboration.
At a ceremony last week (Thursday 3 April) MP Jane Ellison commended Margate Task Force Community Engagement Advisors (CEAs) Debbie Lancaster and Joanne Hirst, who work for the Department for Work and Pensions and GP Dr Heather Scott, from Bethesda Surgery who volunteers with the Task Force. This was specifically around their work supporting individuals with a variety of health issues within Margate and Cliftonville to find employment.
Through the Margate Task Force (MTF) the trio have used their professional skills jointly to support local individuals; recognising the value and relationship between good sustainable employment and improvements in health and wellbeing. This is enhanced by the additional out of hours and voluntary contributions made to support the local population.
As part of the welfare reforms individuals who are signed off and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance are required to attend regular interviews at the Job Centre. For a cohort of individuals the local Job Centre has referred into the MTF Community Engagement Advisors for additional support. In partnership with the GP they have conducted joint home visits, enabling the needs of the individual to stay at the forefront, whilst conforming to national guidance.
This interaction is two way, as referrals have also been received from the GP by the advisor. An example of this is where a GP has medically managed a condition and then refers the individual to the advisors for a constructive way to improve wider wellbeing through working placements. The long-term aspiration would be to identify sustainable employment, which can then be supported through effective use of the Fit to Work Certificates and management of benefits.   
MP Jane Ellison, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, commented that their work ‘’demonstrates opportunity for innovation to inspire others as they work to improve the health and wellbeing of their local communities. ‘’
Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to see Joanne and Debbie recognised by this prestigious award. I cannot speak too highly of them both and the work they do to help individuals find their feet. I also have very good reason to be pleased for Dr Heather Scott. Whenever I meet her she is 'battling' for the best outcomes for our residents. Everyone in Thanet should be very proud of our 'winners' and the entire Margate Taskforce.’
To get in touch with the Margate Task Force, or for more information call 01843 577536 or email:  For the latest updates residents can follow the team on Twitter @MTFThanet

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