Connect Northamptonshire Christmas Update

Hello everyone, I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on the inspiring year that we’ve had on the Connect Northamptonshire Project (funded by the Lottery’s Health Equality Grant – HEG) as we embed the amazing work of our Northamptonshire VCSE sector into the developing Integrated Care System.  Some of the main highlights for me have been :

  • A successful and well received Emerging Leadership Programme to increase the Capacity and Capabilities of our Sector- Our Ambassadors of Change underwent a five session network and training Programme to understand the representative roles our Leaders undertake in both the Place Delivery Model and Health Collaboratives, and how Partnerships and Collaborations are a key element both within our Sector and the Wider ICS Structures.  Feedback from the Ambassadors has highlighted that the individual and team Strengths Based Approach to their existing Leadership Skills helped to form a cohesive team of twelve passionate and enthusiastic Change Makers in our Sector.  Planning is now in place for Cohort 2 to be recruited early in the New Year for this Programme.


  • Connect Northamptonshire has been working with System partners to commence a Pilot Project to Test and Learn how Community Based Early Interventions,  can improve the Health Outcomes of Women in our county in areas where the highest Inequalities exist.  Our learnings from the work of the King’s Fund on this topic have been fundamental in co-designing a pilot project that will target communities in Northampton Central Local Area Partnership in the first instance What women want: addressing women’s health inequalities | The King’s Fund (


  • The Connect Northamptonshire project will be supporting West Northamptonshire’s Public Health Team and wider system partners to apply for “WHO Ageing Better Community” UK Network of Age-friendly Communities | Centre for Ageing Better ( in early 2024, following an interactive workshop in Rural South Northamptonshire to look at Community Led interventions to reduce Health Inequalities experienced by the Elderly Rural Population in the area.   A Connect Northamptonshire Pilot Project will be looking at activities and intervention for this Local Area of Rural Older People, and an Urban area of Northampton, to increase Health Outcomes for these groups.


  • An early Connect Northamptonshire conversation with the VCSE Thematic Partnership for Children and Young People identified the opportunity for a county wide VCSE CYP Collaboration to be established to support of CYP organisations to work closer together and provide a joined up approach to the needs of our Children and Young People in the county.  The host organisation has now received the seed funding from West Northants Council to set up this independent body for the county – Young Northants.


  • Connect Northamtponshire continues to support the VCSE Infrastructure Partners in North Northamptonshire to engage with wider VCSE sector organisation, and our “experts by experience” in communities, through the Support North Northamtponshire Pilot Project.  The Pilot Project is designed to embed the VCSE Governance into the ICS to provide a delivery model for early intervention and prevention actvities in our Communities for those Adults at risk of the highest Health Inequalities due to their Wider Determinants of Health.


  • Developing a Learning Network with the other thirteen HEG Grantees throughout the county – we meet regularly to share knowledge and experience of our Projects facilitated by the wonderful Innovation Unit (Partners of the National Lottery Community Fund)


  • …and finally a personal highlight for me was the invitation to Westminster Abbey to represent the Northamptonshire VCSE on the 75th Birthday of the NHS 

I want to take this opportunity too to thank you all for your continued support of our developing partnership project, its been wonderful to work with so many enthusiastic and motivated teams in the county – I’m looking forward to 2024, and the prospect of new partnerships with NHFT as we work to “Together Against Racism” and the evaluation opportunities with the University of Northampton’s Social Impact and Innovation Team.  

I hope you, your families and friends all have a wonderful Christmas break, and a happy and healthy New Year

Claire Neilson, Alliances Manager