And what is social prescribing?

We recognise that social prescribing is a clunky term, but it is now being used and recognised by health and social care nationally. We have taken our description of social prescribing from the ‘Richmond Group of Charities Doing the Right Thing programme’ as explained in their helpful slide deck here.

The aim of social prescribing is to help people live their lives as well as possible, with a focus on supporting them to take control of and to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare. Social prescribing links people into personal networks as well as practical and emotional support within communities and the voluntary sector. This is often via their GP, nurse or other primary care professional.”

From gardening clubs and art classes to benefits and legal advice, social prescribing enables people to access activities that meet their wider emotional, physical and social needs.

Social prescribing often involves a referral to a Link Worker/ Navigator/ Social Prescriber – the titles are different across services but the role is to find out what is important to the person and support them to access different services that improve their health and wellbeing. It might involve the Navigator going along to a social group with the person so that they are supported to take that step.

Here’s a quote from a lady who benefited from the Ways to Wellness social prescribing service in Newcastle:

I just expected the Link Worker to introduce me to the gym, and that would have been it. And I think, if it had just been [that] I would have turned round, and I would have gone the opposite direction. But because of the way I was so gradually and really professionally linked in to different things, I just felt as though I’d floated into it, rather than getting shoved from behind. I just felt as though I was gradually moved into it.

Click here for the full Ways to Wellness study.