Black History Month – Spotlight on Josephine and Social Prescribing

This year during Black History Month, we are shining a light on the work, views, and experiences of some of our Black and Brown colleagues. We recently spoke to Josephine, who is part of our team of Social Prescribing Link Workers, about the ways she supports patients to improve their wellbeing and her views on the significance of Black History Month.

Josephine has a background in Public Health Nutrition. She joined The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) as a Community Activator and went on to work as Project Support for the Healthy Communities department. She became a Social Prescriber for Sutton Coldfield group practices in July this year. In her role, she works with patients experiencing a range of mental and physical health conditions to understand their needs and connect them to services. She explained,

I’m supporting people who might be lonely or isolated, and people that just want to improve their overall wellbeing. That could be through any social activity, so it could be online or in-person sessions, such as walking groups, community groups like coffee mornings, or by helping them access mental health support through referrals to partner organisations.’

She spends time assessing what really matters to them and creating a personalised care plan that will help them have better control managing their healthcare needs.’ Josephine also helps to run in-person activities, such as a Social Prescribing Walking Group in Sutton Park, which brings people together to build social connections and improve their fitness.

While working at TAWS, Josephine has enjoyed working across a range of projects, including Cycling on Prescription, supporting the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, and delivering emergency food provisions. In her current role as a Social Prescriber, she explained that what she enjoys the most is helping people to access resources. She said,

I think it’s just helping people to break barriers and be a step closer to a better mental and physical state. Especially when they don’t really know where things are, so just being able to direct them to those services within a neighbourhood. I think that’s the best part of my role.’

Josephine believes that Black History Month is a really important time to remember and educate people about Black heritage. However, this shouldn’t just be the case for one month of the year. She explained, ‘I think it’s important to recognise some of the good things that have happened in history, and that are ongoing, and I think it shouldn’t just be celebrated just within one month.’

She also suggested that including more Black history within the school curriculum is a good way to create lasting change. Her son’s school have done a lot to teach and encourage children to speak about Black history and she is hopeful that within the next few decades we will see improvements. She said that currently, ‘you don’t see a lot of Black people within many top managerial positions. So, I’m hoping, you know, with his generation that should be different.’

This year, the theme for Black History Month is ‘Proud To Be’. It invites Black and Brown people around the UK to share what they are proud to be – for a festival of celebration in October. Josephine told us ‘I’m proud to be Black’. She also added,

‘there’s this quote by Maya Angelo – I think that’s the best quote to describe what I feel like being a Black person. So, it says “I am so grateful to be a Black woman. I would be so jealous if were anything else.”’

We have a range of support groups and activity sessions which patients can access, such as walking groups, growing activities and communal eating. To find out more about our Social Prescribing offer, visit https://theaws.co.uk/social-prescribing/ or contact the Primary Care Network Lead to identify your Social Prescribing Link Worker. 

Nina Conway
Author: Nina Conway