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What is social prescribing?

People often visit their GP because they are feeling stressed about their work, have money worries, are lonely and isolated, or they are grieving as someone close to them has died. All these things have a big impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing. These problems cannot simply be fixed by taking tablets and a medical approach alone. Social prescribing aims to provide support that looks at you as a whole person, not just your physical or mental health needs. The support considers your physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. By helping you find solutions to the causes, such as support with housing, debts, finances or employment and by becoming more involved in your local community.

A social prescribing link worker is part of your General Practice team. Your GP, a nurse or another Primary Care professional can refer you to a social prescribing link worker. They will focus on what matters to you and work with you to find out what a good life looks like for you.

They can support you to access local community, voluntary and other support services.​​​​ Or they might help you find information and guidance by using a bit of inside knowledge and telling you about local resources that can help you.

Watch this film to find out more about social prescribing.

What is community-based support?

If you have support from a social prescribing link worker, they might introduce you to a community group, a new activity or a local club, or they might help you access legal advice or debt counselling. Often people don’t know what’s available in their community and may not feel confident to get involved on their own. A social prescribing link worker can provide support to help you connect to the local voluntary and community sector organisations. For example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

Who can a social prescribing link worker help?

A social prescribing link worker supports people to unpick issues they may be facing and give them time to focus on what matters to them. They connect people to community groups and activities that provide practical and emotional support, enabling the people to take greater control of their health and wellbeing.  As they are part of the team in your GP practice, in most cases, the GP will refer you to a social prescribing link worker, they work with a wide range of people, including teenagers, adults and families – people who are working or not working and people that are retired.

Social Prescribing is flexible it can help people who:

  • have one or more long-term condition.
  • need support with their mental health, such as stress, anxiety and low mood.
  • are lonely or isolated.
  • have complex social needs which affect their physical health and wellbeing.
  • visit their GP and hospital very frequently, because they’re not sure who can help them.
  • are not confident to manage their own health and need support.
  • are looking for support, guidance and motivation to make lifestyle changes.

How can you get a social prescribing link worker?

All GP surgeries have access to a social prescribing link worker – you can get an appointment to see a social prescribing link worker by talking to your GP who can refer you to their team of social prescribing link workers. The team of social prescribing link workers will contact you and arrange a time to meet them.

Social prescribing link workers are provided by a range of organisations in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County. The organisation will depend on whether you live in Nottingham City or which part of Nottinghamshire County you live in and which GP surgery you are registered with. See the directory at the bottom of the page.

Stories of social prescribing and community-based support

How social prescribing helped to create a wider opportunity – Jason’s Story!

Social Prescribing in Rushcliffe

The Social Prescribing team in Rushcliffe is managed by PartnersHealth. They run an allotment plot at the Ruddington Paradise Gardens after the space was kindly donated by Ruddington Parish Council. The allotment gives people at risk of social isolation or loneliness a quiet space to socialise and learn about gardening. The allotment working group at Paradise Gardens came together and offered to help people.

The grown produce is either taken home by the people or is given to a local foodbank.

Helen says: “It’s a lovely environment to be in. All the people are really friendly, and ‘getting back to basics’ and seeing things grow gives you a real sense of achievement. Plus, the vegetables taste fantastic!

“It’s really helped me; it’s lifted my spirits and the interaction with nature and the earth has been fantastic. The produce, the colours, the smells – it is uplifting. I’ve been coming a few months – on the Wednesdays and sometimes at the weekend – and it’s been wonderful.

“A lot of people here had lost their confidence to go out, but if you are doing an activity side by side, it feels more natural being with other people. And if you don’t want to talk, you have something to do!”

Referral to the social prescribing service is by GP or other healthcare professional. To find out more, follow the Rushcliffe Social Prescribing team on Facebook.

Watch their film to find out more.

Find out who provides social prescribing in your area

Nottingham City

The lead employer for social prescribing link workers in the city.

Additional Roles – Nottingham City GP Alliance (ncgpa.org.uk)

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Contact Nottingham CityCare employs some social prescribing link workers.

Wellness in Mind – Framework Housing Association (frameworkha.org)

Nottinghamshire County

Bassetlaw

Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service (BCVS).

https://notts.icb.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/10/Bassetlaw-Social-Prescribing-Link-Workers-Flyer-2022.pdf

Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark, Sherwood, Beeston, Eastwood or Stapleford

The social prescribing link workers are employed by the Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS).

Rushcliffe

If you live in Rushcliffe the social prescribing link workers are employed by Partners Health. Look at the website to find out what they do and meet the team Social Prescribing – Partners Health LTD

Gedling and Hucknall

The social prescribing link workers are employed by Age UK Notts 

Young People’s Charity | Base 51 | Nottingham

Find out about community-based support

Social prescribing and community-based support is not a new idea. It may be known by different names such as care navigation, promoting independence workers, community connectors, and local area coordination.

Low level community support is available through Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council.

Visit the Wellness in Mind website a service in Nottingham connecting people to better mental health

https://findingnatureblog.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/the-nature-connection-handbook.pdf

We have provided links to a range of nature-based activities and ideas as part of the GreenSpace (green social prescribing) project. Please contact the listed organisations directly if you would like to know more.

Find out more about social prescribing

NHS England » Social prescribing

What is social prescribing? | National Academy for Social Prescribing (socialprescribingacademy.org.uk)

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