Sport For Confidence launches Self-Care Confidence Programme 
This month sees the launch of a new initiative that will support individuals known to services across Essex to improve their self-care confidence. 
Driven by the team of Sport For Confidence occupational therapists, in partnership with Essex County Council, the programme initiates a welfare call to anyone in the community, known to services, who has not had any contact with the local authority for a period of 12 months or more. This re-establishes a professional connection, creates an opportunity to assess needs and enables the activation of any necessary interventions, ensuring each individual receives the support they need. 
Nikki West, Occupational Therapist at Sport For Confidence, says: “The programme is designed to improve the wellbeing of individuals, with a focus on the development of self-care confidence. During our initial telephone intervention we discuss daily routines, habits and general lifestyle to identify gaps or issues with an individual’s self-care confidence. Once identified, we take immediate action to promote improvements, heading off the need for long term local authority interventions. 
“In some cases, to improve self-care confidence, we will deliver a gift. For example, a house plant. Being responsible for the plant’s ongoing health can help an individual remember to look after themselves through the completion of daily tasks such as washing, brushing hair, getting dressed appropriately and cleaning teeth. Or a gift could help with a more specific task. For example, a stress ball or a fidget spinner can help to bring anxiety down to a manageable level that enables the individual to complete tasks such as venturing outside of their home to collect groceries or visit friends and family. 
“We will also be supporting individuals through the provision of information around the topic of self-care and, where appropriate ,will encourage involvement in Sport For Confidence inclusive sport and physical activity sessions, held at leisure centres across the county. The aim is really to tailor an intervention that best meets the needs of the individual, supporting them in the attainment of health, happiness and fulfilment. 
The Self-Care Confidence programme is an evolution of the Plant Care, Self-Care programme which has bene running for the last 6 months. Tom Doughty, Sport For Confidence, Head Coach North Essex, adds: “Whilst the Plant-Care, Self-Care programme has helped many people, the gift of a plant does not always meet the needs of everyone. In response to this, we have developed the programme to include a range of gifts and include other support interventions that provide education and support focused on improving self-care confidence.” 
Speaking about the Self-Care Confidence programme, Jess Stewart, head of strategic commissioning and policy at Essex County Council and lead for the Meaningful Lives programme, says: “The last 18 months or so have been tough for many people and we have needed to adapt to do things differently and to support adults through prolonged periods of isolation. 
“At ECC, we are proud to have been working with Sport for Confidence on the development of such a positive scheme which provides encouragement and supports wellbeing. 
“The scheme has evolved over time based on people’s experiences and preferences and is a great example of collaboration across the system. 
“The Meaningful Lives team is looking forward to seeing how the next phase of the scheme is received.” 
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