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Thursday 14th March is Social Prescribing Day!

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Recognising that people’s health is affected by a range of different social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing is a way of helping individuals to take greater control of their own health. The idea is that GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals can refer people to local, non-clinical services, rather than prescribing medication or formal treatment.

A good example might be someone who visits their GP because they are anxious or depressed, perhaps because they’re worried about personal debt, or caring for a family member, or feeling lonely – which itself can be very debilitating. If the underlying causes can be treated better through a non-clinical piece of advice or support it may have a better outcome. That can involve engaging with other people and activities in the community. And the word ‘community’ is important because it helps people improve their health and wellbeing in familiar local surroundings.

Health services, charities, voluntary groups and local councils are working together to provide the right solutions for patients, funded by Norfolk County Council’s Better Care Fund.

Dereham-based Community Action Norfolk co-ordinates social prescribing in the West Norfolk and Breckland areas, working with over twenty GP practices and partner organisations including Age UK, Family Action Swaffham, Future Projects, Home Group Ltd., The Matthew Project, West Norfolk Carers and West Norfolk Mind.

CAN Chief Executive Jon Clemo explains: ‘Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations have long seen the need to build better referral links with public sector services in recognising the holistic needs of clients – and collaborative working helps plan provision and explore the effectiveness of social prescribing. Ultimately it’s about empowering people by encouraging them to find their own pathway towards better health and wellbeing.’

The process usually involves a link worker or ‘connector’ who helps direct the person to the right agency, charity or community group that can best help and support their needs. And those community-based solutions might include volunteering, arts activities, adult education, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice or sports.

‘It’s working well’ adds Mr Clemo. ‘Our social prescribing partnership has so far helped more than 500 people. Social prescribing is now well-established right across Norfolk, helping people improve their health and wellbeing by providing support and advice, beyond, or as an alternative to, medical intervention.’

Read more here

For more information please contact Jon Clemo, Chief Executive, Community Action Norfolk  01362 698216  [email protected]

Freedom Duma, Projects Officer, Community Action Norfolk   01362 698216   [email protected]

Steve Nunn, Communications Officer, Community Action Norfolk   01362 698216  [email protected] 

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Community Action Norfolk is the leading organisation for engagement with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Norfolk. We work with over 500 groups a year, with links to over 5,000 organisations, volunteers and community champions, to build a stronger and fairer Norfolk.