Social Prescribing provides people with alternative ways of addressing their own emotional and mental health with Personalised Care that starts in and around health centres. The referral programme enables people to benefit from being more active and socially connected, targeting some of the most deprived areas of Birmingham and Solihull and those with some of the highest rates of physical inactivity.
Personalised Care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered, based on ‘what matters’ to them and their individual strengths and needs. This happens within a system that makes the most of the expertise, capacity and potential of people, families and communities in delivering better outcomes and experiences. Personalised care takes a whole-system approach, integrating services around the person. It is an all-age model, from maternity and childhood through to end of life, encompassing both mental and physical health support.
In 2019, NHS England appointed one Link worker for every Primary Care Network to support patients to improve their health. The Active Wellbeing Society Social Prescribing Link workers connect people with local opportunities and support become more socially and physically active through:
Listening and understanding
Supporting people to improve their health
Connecting patients together
Creating opportunities for people to help shape the work that we do
We offer on-going one to one support and we work with our users to design personalised activities. We undertake regular consultations with patients about the types of services they would like to access from their GP practices for confidence and health. These consultations have lead to the codesign and delivery of a number of interventions now currently being delivered in and around GP practices in Birmingham. Activities created to date have ranged from programmes such as Knitter Natter and Talking Art to more physically active interventions such as yoga, walking and cycling groups.
We work with GP practices to identify people who frequently visit the doctor with low level issues around their mental and emotional wellbeing, which medical staff find hard to address. As relationships and confidence grow, and they begin to experience the benefits, their desire to participate grows. We have had people go from doing nothing and feeling very isolated to leading active groups themselves in this way. This is how we work towards building true resilience. In fact, our offer is so comprehensive that other Social Prescribers are referring to us.
One of our participants shared; “Health-wise the walking has reduced my weight and I feel healthier. I am out for 7 days week which never would have happened before, I have told my family if I could stay at these activities longer I would. I really enjoy the gardening class and the yoga and Pilates.”