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What is social prescribing

Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing.

Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.

It helps people get more control over their healthcare, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them.

It can especially help people:

  • with one or more long-term conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who are lonely or isolated
  • who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

Social prescribing links individuals to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

To find out more about social prescribing, visit this NHS England webpage.

You can also watch this video explanation on YouTube, produced by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP).
 

Green social prescribing

NCVS is the lead organisation of GreenSpace, one of seven national test and learn pilots across the country aiming to embed green social prescribing pathways into local social prescribing systems.

Green social prescribing is a way of connecting people to nature-based activities and green groups, projects and schemes in their local community for support with health and wellbeing. Often this will be through a referral from a link worker based at a GP practice or another primary care professional.

NCVS doesn't run a social prescribing service or employ social prescribing link workers. We can't assist you with general social prescribing enquiries or referrals.

To find out more about GreenSpace and green social prescribing, visit our GreenSpace page.

 

Referral routes into social prescribing

If you are a member of the public:

Most people will be given an appointment with their social prescribing link worker in their local GP practice. You can ask to speak to a social prescribing link worker at your local GP practice. They will help you to identify, and connect with, local activities that may help improve, or give you control over your health. NCVS is unable to assist you in making contact with a link worker.

Alternatively, you may prefer to connect with activities in your local area directly. There is growing evidence that a range of social activities – including physical exercise, engaging with arts or cultural activities, and connecting with the natural environment – can benefit our health and wellbeing.

To find out more about these activities and support, you could ask in your local library or community centre, or look online for local groups and services.

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

If you are a healthcare professional or support worker in a community organisation:

NCVS doesn't run a social prescribing service or employ social prescribing link workers. We can't assist you with general social prescribing enquiries or referrals. If you wish to access social prescribing for a patient or client, please contact their registered GP practice directly.

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.

If you have a general enquiry about social prescribing and your patient or client is based in Nottingham city or Nottinghamshire county, the following information may help you to identify the appropriate contact:

Nottingham City

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) bring together a range of GP practices, local organisations and groups, including community services, social care and the voluntary sector to offer coordinated health and social care to their local populations. Social prescribing link workers work as part of a multidisciplinary team across a specific Primary Care Network. Read more about the eight PCNs in Nottingham city.

Nottingham City General Practice Alliance (NCGPA) employs some of the social prescribing link workers in the city: contact NCGPA.

Nottingham CityCare is also an employer of some link workers - contact Nottingham CityCare.

Wellness in Mind is a service in Nottingham connecting people to better mental health - visit the Wellness in Mind website.


Nottinghamshire

There are three Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in the county:


You might also find useful resources on the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) website.