It’s not just about the information Heather is in her early 50s and comes to the Care Network Hub when she wants to find out about support and activities for her wellbeing, as well as to have some general reassurance from a friendly face. Heather was born with spina bifida, and later in life a serious accident added to challenges with her physical health, mobility and her emotional wellbeing. In November 2005 following her accident she was moved into sheltered housing. She continues to live there, keeping hold of her independence in a purpose built bungalow. A few years ago, Heather used to have a regular visit from a warden from her sheltered housing scheme, as well as a support worker. She needs less support now, than the years following her accident. “‘I’ve been through a bad time, I don’t want to be disabled, I want to be as normal as possible and live independently, but I still need to feel like someone’s there for me, that’s a big thing for me.’” On numerous recent visits Heather has spoken to Care Network staff at the Care Network Hub helpdesk, found out about the following services and benefited from the encouragement to access them; Inter Madrassah Organisation, Women 4 Women: Heather goes weekly, getting her out of the house, making friends, learning and helping other women via peer support. East Lancashire Hospice, Bereavement counselling: After her father passed away, she was referred and plans to start counselling later in the year. Asylum and Refugee Community Project: Heather picked up information about a coffee morning – which she started to attend, she has now begun volunteering to help teach people English. Neighbourhood Learning: Heather has registered on some of the recent Festival of Learning sessions, providing her with opportunities to take part in new and interesting activities. Wellbeing Service, Healthwise Referral: Heather wanted to know about physical activities, such as walking etc. and was referred for the supported exercise programme. Health and Wellbeing When asked how accessing the Care Network Hub helps her, Heather explains very passionately, “The thing I like about the Care Network Hub is that a lot of people say “Look at the computer, or, check on the internet” then, when you look, the information isn’t up to date, or you don’t find what you’re looking for. The fact that I can go to that building, have some one-to-one time, someone to talk to, face-to-face, sometimes you [the Care Network Hub] don’t need to do a right lot but after I’ve been in, the world doesn’t feel as dull. The hardest step is getting through the front door, but when you have staff that are so encouraging, being able to deal with lots of different people, it makes the world of difference. The staff are absolutely wonderful, they make the world feel like it’s not too bad. I can come along and sit down and get given some pieces of information. But it’s not just about the information, it’s knowing there’s somewhere to come to.” Heather has been on a long journey to get to the place she finds herself in now, she explains the benefit of meeting new people, finding out about lots of different perspectives, meeting people from different cultures and volunteering. “When I’m talking to people who have had to flee their country just to feel safe, that must be horrendous, these people have led good, honest, decent lives. I’ve learned there is a fine line, and that life can change with a flip of a coin, you simply don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.” Heather believes that visiting the Care Network Hub has had a positive impact on her health. Heather says that she feels safer, more independent, more connected with her community and others and she feels better supported and that accessing the Care Network Hub has supported her to maintain and improve her emotional and physical health.