Raymond’s Story- Social Prescribing

Raymond is 64 years old. Since he turned 60, he has been experiencing ill health. He has had a stroke and has arthritis in his feet. He also explained that ‘One of the main problems is my heart, I need to keep my heart active.’

Raymond received a text from his GP inviting him to sign up to Social Prescribing activities, which could support his wellbeing. His Social Prescribing Link Worker, Leila, contacted him and they arranged a meeting to chat through the different groups and activities on offer. He explained that at first, ‘I started off with drumming. It was a bit like mental therapy, she plays different sounds, it’s kind of like meditation. Then that led on to other things.’

Now, Raymond attends several activities, including walking groups and cycling sessions. He also accessed a free 12-week gym membership via his GP and has continued to ‘go on my own steam’, by paying for a subscription. He reflected that through the activities ‘I’ve met all kinds of people from all walks of life. It gets me out the house at least 3 times per week. It’s company, some exercise.’

The social element of the walking group has helped Raymond to build up his confidence. He explained, ‘After my stroke, I didn’t like talking to people because I was talking different. I lost a lot of confidence, but I’ve got my confidence back now, meeting people.’

Leila also encouraged him to take part in some of our cycling activities, such as led rides. Raymond explained that he was nervous at first:

‘I hadn’t been on a cycle for 50 years, not since I was 14… When I first started, I was really wary, it took me half an hour to build my confidence up and get my balance. The participants and instructors are all really pleasant, easy going, they don’t rush you. I got into cycling again, I was amazed with myself.’

The activities have helped Raymond to become more active and cycling has helped the arthritis in his feet. But he reflected that the most significant benefit has been the improvement to his mental health. He said,

‘It’s had an impact, not just on my physical health, but mainly on my mental health really. I was in a bit of a rut because I always worked so hard, then you get struck down. I think it’s the mental health side that can help everything else. Good mental attitude is the starting point.’

After regularly borrowing one of our bikes while taking part in cycling activities, Leila arranged for Raymond to receive a bike on prescription, which would be his to keep and own. Raymond explained, ‘At first, I didn’t think it would be much of a bike, thought it would be a secondhand bike, but it was a really nice bike. I was quite chuffed with it.’

Now, he uses the bike as his main form of transport, it helps him visit his family and travel to the cycling sessions. He explained this has been vital as ‘I always used to drive, but I haven’t got my car anymore. I gave it up because I couldn’t afford to run it. The bike gets me about.’

Raymond said that the Social Prescribing groups have made a real difference to his overall wellbeing. He said, ‘I would encourage anyone to do it. Give it a go. It can give you a boost. I think it’s a great thing.’

Social Prescribing is a referral programme which provides people with alternative ways of addressing their own emotional and mental health. We have a range of groups and activities which can help support your mental and physical wellbeing. To find out more, visit our website: https://theaws.co.uk/social-prescribing/

 

Sameena Bibi
Author: Sameena Bibi

Marketing support officer at The Active Wellbeing Society.