More than 550 people around the county have been supported in a series of projects recently funded through North Yorkshire County Council’s Innovation Fund.

The fund was set up to help voluntary and community organisations to develop services or projects that enable people to be less reliant on statutory health and social care support. The fund is managed for the County Council by Knaresborough-based Your Consortium, which supports voluntary and community enterprises.

More than £1.5m has been invested in dozens of projects since the Innovation Fund was set up in 2011. Your Consortium has now published an evaluation of the impact of projects supported in 2015 and 2016.

People who took part were asked before and after how they felt about aspects of their wellbeing. The report says: “Analysis of the questions demonstrates a clear overall improvement in emotional health and wellbeing.” It adds: “The Innovation Fund had a measurable impact on the health and wellbeing of the North Yorkshire residents that took part. There were measurable improvements in mental health, perception of personal value and improvements in social connections.”

Cllr Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Services and Health Integration, said: “This investment supports the County Council’s priority of helping people to maintain their independence and to encourage local communities to care for their residents.

“The Innovation Fund supports the transformation and sustainability of adult health and social care in North Yorkshire by helping voluntary and community organisations to devise innovative approaches to early intervention and prevention. The success of these recent projects builds on earlier work supported by the fund.”

A further eight projects received funding earlier this year and will be evaluated when they have been delivered.

The current round of funding will be the last in its current form. In future, innovation funding will be incorporated into the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme, which supports development of community-run services that improve the health and wellbeing of older people, vulnerable adults and carers.

Your Consortium’s full report can be found on their website at www.yourconsortium.org/projects/the-innovation-fund.