The National Academy of Social Prescribing has been awarded £5m funding by the Government.
The funding is hoped to help tackle some of the social side-effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The £5m will be invested in various social prescribing services including tailored debt advice following Covid-19 as well as improving local green spaces, singing and other physical activities.
Social prescribing is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing.
Some of the projects that work with NASP include:
Money advice: the Money and Pensions Service and Mental Health UK have created a Money Support Pack for people who need support with their mental health as a result of Covid-19.
Football: Newcastle United Foundation ‘Be a Game Changer’ programme and ‘12th Man’ programme which work to support men with mental health issues.
Art by Post: created under lockdown, the Southbank Centre sends free creative activity booklets to people across the UK who are living with dementia and other chronic health conditions.
Improved green spaces: link workers refer and connect people to their local wildlife and wider activities including food growing, healthy cooking, wildlife gardening, environmental art and crafts, music workshops, and beekeeping.
Singing: English National Opera (ENO) have partnered with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to devise an integrated 6-week pilot programme of singing, breathing and wellbeing aimed at supporting and enhancing the recovery of Covid-19 survivors.
Minister for Health Jo Churchill said:
This new funding is hugely important, as it will allow us to build on the merits of social prescribing and encourage innovation in local projects, as well as supporting people to remain connected with their local community, reduce loneliness and improve their wellbeing.
GPs and social prescribing link workers have been working incredibly hard to support their patients through this challenging time. As we begin to support the move out of lockdown, social prescribing will be key to tackling health inequalities and helping people recover and rebuild their lives.”
Marian Spain, CEO Natural England, said:
“Covid-19 has highlighted the importance for people to have easy access to high-quality green space close to where they live for their mental health and wellbeing. We are seeing more or more evidence of the good that does for us all. We’ve seen a resurgence in the use of urban parks, beaches and nature reserves by people of all ages and backgrounds who we should welcome and embrace.”