This blog has been contributed by Lisa Gardner, ALISS Development and Engagement Officer. www.aliss.org
‘There’s so much information out there, why can’t it all be held in the one place?’
‘We had no idea that other support groups existed!’
‘We’ve tried listing our service before, but it can be hard to stay engaged when staff move on or jobs change.’
These are just some of the questions and statements that have been posed to me over the 8 years that I’ve worked in capacity building and inclusion focused roles within the Third Sector.
My first role was with a national organisation that supports families affected by a loved one’s substance misuse.
During conversations with family members, peer support groups and professionals working within the field of substance misuse and addiction, I would hear about how difficult it could be to find information, resources or services that were relevant and accessible. At the same time, those people would have little idea on how to share or promote the things that they had found helpful.
I moved to my current organisation, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), a little over three years ago to deliver the inclusion strand of a national co-production programme. Around the same time I became an unpaid carer to a partner with Autism.
Given my new roles – both professionally and personally – finding a platform to source information that was both personalised and relevant to me was even more so at the forefront of my mind.
I was soon introduced to a sibling programme within the ALLIANCE, ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) – an innovative digital system for finding and sharing health and wellbeing resources.
A solution in a cluttered digital landscape
I got myself an ALISS account and was so impressed by what I found: information and resources to benefit a person’s health and wellbeing all under one ‘digital roof’!
Everything from formal NHS and Local Authority delivered health and social care services, to church based community activities and walking groups in local parks, to Scout Groups across the country – all at my fingertips.
Being new to my professional and personal roles this was a timely and encouraging discovery.
Fast forward to 6 months ago and I was offered the opportunity to become part of the ALISS team; I jumped at the chance!
Next chapter for ALISS
Now, as we here at ALISS look to the future, we continue to take an agile approach, building on our values of co-production and co-design to make sure that the ALISS product is as effective as possible in enabling people across Scotland to add and update resources on a continual basis.
By encouraging the people who deliver or use services to add and keep up to date their own ALISS resources, it keeps the information on ALISS as close to the point of service as possible.
We recognise and work with the need to balance the ‘quality assurance’ of ALISS resources with the need to cede some power and avoid becoming too risk adverse, facilitating people to participate effectively by able to say what matters to them, including informal information and resources that may not have mechanisms for assuring quality.
More than just medicine
One of the things that really excites me about being part of ALISS is our ability to evidence that a person’s wellbeing is more than just the absence of illness, and that self-management of a person’s health outcomes is about more than ‘just medicine’.
We give people a place to share information on how attending weekly juggling sessions at the local park helped them build their social confidence while doing something fun.
Or how they joined ‘Fitness for Fans’, the nationwide scheme which gets football fans who are overweight back into physical activity with the support of the trainers and physiotherapists in an environment free from judgement.
With personalised, good quality information and resources at your fingertips, the sky is the limit for what people can achieve for their health and wellbeing outcomes.
You can find out more about ALISS here: www.aliss.org