ORGANISATIONS providing essential services for Herefordshire's older residents are on the lookout for ways to improve and expand the quality and range of services they provide.

Herefordshire Council, the Primary Care Trust and the Alliance - representing voluntary sector health and social care organisations - are contacting local groups and inviting them to suggest ways services could be expanded to promote wellbeing and improve the physical and mental health of older people.

The council commissioned a major review of the demand for adult social care services last year and one of the key recommendations was to develop a range of services to help older people stay independent and prevent the need for more formal services, such as expensive residential-based social care services.

"We've earmarked significant extra investment in these services and, together with our partners, we're keen on voluntary and community organisations being right at the heart of not only delivering these services but also designing them," said Geoff Hughes, director of adult and community services.

"This additional funding will be used to support small grant-aided schemes as well as larger initiatives which will require a tendering process and formal contracts being drawn up.

"The investment presents a major opportunity for local organisations to influence how this money is spent and to also play a key role in the delivery of these prevention services," added Mr Hughes.

The types of schemes which will attract funding are those which can demonstrate they will make a contribution to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of those older people most at risk from poor health and social isolation.

A small team representing the partners involved in commissioning these new services has been set up to push forward the improvements which will help older people to live safely and independently in their own homes.

For details, call 01432 260396.