Anchor innovation

Mid and South Essex’ Anchor has been at the forefront of Essex wide anchor development and beyond.

The programme has adapted and developed the model to sit within NHS-led healthcare.

Innovation is at the heart of that approach; remodelling earlier ways of working, adapting community provision into a hospital environment and stepping out with the new.

Social Spark - a Basildon healthcare social innovation incubator

Investing in community solutions to local healthcare challenges.

Social Spark is a project based in Basildon exploring innovative ways to tackle healthcare inequality through social and economic solutions.  It brings together residents, community organisations, health & social care practitioners, with Anglia Ruskin University staff and students, to tackle healthcare inequality. The end goal is an ecosystem where new ideas can grow into long term solutions to local problems, reducing demand on acute services and giving people the chance to make healthy choices throughout their lives. It will:

  • Generate ideas for projects, charities, and businesses based on local need.
  • Train leaders in communities, third sector organisations, and the health system to take the ideas forward.
  • Connect people who want to work on the same problem or in the same area.
  • Inject energy from the university – from teams of student volunteers working on challenges, to researchers presenting local data in innovative ways

The project, a collaboration with Basildon Council, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Essex County Council and Mid and South Essex ICS, aims to support those;

  • living or close to Basildon with healthcare ideas they are keen to progress 
  • already delivering healthcare support who wish to offer more  
  • with great healthcare ideas who are keen to work and support local people to develop and deliver those ideas

The project has completed its feasibility phase, with an Anchor Innovation Feasibility Study (Basildon) HSII 2023 [pdf] that concluded the concept was worthy of further development to build out the high-level business model for the project and to secure funding to test further the demand and outcomes for the Incubator.

The project will also enable community capacity building to empower and build the capacities of local communities and voluntary and community sector organisations. The project will work with local higher education institutions within Essex to enrich these opportunities, building on the multi-year NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme hosted at Anglia Ruskin University.

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Accident and emergency youth project

Since 2019 Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital has had a youth work in Accident and Emergency (A&E) project funded through the Police and Crime Commissioner. The project was launched to engage with young people who attended A&E with a range of presenting characteristics. 

Youth workers provide a presence on site between 3pm and 8pm, 5 to 7 days a week at Basildon A&E and a referral service is available outside of these times.  

Following referral to the Youth Service a tiering system is used to guide the young people to the most appropriate next steps. The youth work offer provides young people with safe spaces to explore their identity, experience decision-making, increase their confidence, develop inter-personal skills and think through the consequences of their actions.

The project has been universally well-received by young people, parents and clinicians.

In October 2023 with additional support from NHS England the project will evolve into a Youth Work In Hospitals pilot – one of nine nationally to extend its youth work offer to young people with long-term conditions, and for those 18-25 yr. olds attending for mental health reasons.

The pilot will also test a Southend model and develop a long-term plan for all three hospitals.

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Essex Pedal Power – free bikes for staff living in Basildon

If you live in Basildon or the surrounding area, you may be able to claim a bike – for free. Fill in the application form via the Essex Pedal Power website, see eligibility criteria below.

Essex Pedal Power is a county-wide bike giveaway programme looking to give 3,000 bikes to people across different sites in Essex. Essex Pedal Power initially launched in Clacton and Jaywick in 2021.

Following the success of this pilot programme, the scheme is now being rolled out to Basildon and the surrounding area.

The scheme recognises that there are a range of barriers to cycling that go beyond simply having access to a bike. As such, the Essex Pedal Power team will offer free cycle training in a safe environment with trained professionals and support you to maintain your bike. They will also help to create informal cycle groups to create a community of people who all benefit from cycling.

Bikes are initially given to recipients as part of a six-month loan. If successful applicants are enjoying having a bike and using it regularly, at the end of the six months they can keep the bike for free. They will also receive a bike helmet, lights, pump, and a D lock free of charge.

25% of the bikes will be GPS tracked to allow the Essex Pedal Power team to understand a little bit more about how people use the bikes, the types of routes they use and where they like to go. This will help the partnership group to influence future infrastructure upgrades and other cycle work.

Eligibility criteria and timeline

To be eligible for a bike, you must be within pay bands 2-4, working at Basildon Hospital, and living within Basildon (town), Laindon, Vange or Pitsea.

Bikes will predominantly be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

The project is being delivered by The Active Wellbeing Society, as part of a partnership project including Basildon Council, Essex County Council, Active Essex, Sport England, London Marathon Foundation and Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

Apply now

If you meet the criteria, you can fill out this form.

For more information, visit

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