SPLW – more information
What is Social Prescribing?
Social prescribing is a new service designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs with the focus on improving mental health and physical well-being. We recognise that people’s health and well-being is affected by a wide range of social, economic and environmental factors and so we take a holistic approach and aim to support people take greater control of their own health and well-being.
Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs) provide time to talk and explore what matters to a person. They link people to a wide range of non-clinical activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Some examples can be seen in the section below. SPLWs work with local partners to support community groups to be accessible, sustainable and where appropriate help people start new groups.
Social prescribing works for a wide range of patients, including persons: 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 well-being
who are carers
who are frequently attending either primary or secondary health care
This service is currently only for people over 18.
A Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) will give you time to talk and to explore what matters to you. We will look at a range of factors that might be impacting upon your health and well-being and together identify what you want to focus on. We will use the Well-being Star* to identify any changes you want to make and explore what steps you want to take. Together we will develop a simple action plan based on your existing strengths, needs and preferences and identify any support you might require.
We can connect you to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support that you feel would improve your health and well-being. Being part of a group can provide a sense of belonging, help you feel part of a wider community as well offering opportunities to give time others. For some people there could be openings for volunteering which might in turn assist with employment. Friendships arising from being part of a community group can provide peer support which can reduce loneliness and anxiety. Connecting to community groups can help you to find a new sense of purpose, enjoying activities you might not otherwise have tried before, such as arts, cultural activities, walking, running, gardening, singing and making connections to the outdoors.
‘Being connected to community groups through social prescribing could enable you to be more physically active and improve your mental health, helping you to stay well for longer and lessen the impact of long-term conditions.’ NHS 2019 (Social Prescribing and Community-based Support: Summary Guide
Follow this link to the NHS website which contains a video and some case studies.
You can access a social prescribing link worker if you are registered with a GP practice. You can be referred by a clinician, GP, Nurse, HCA, pharmacist or anyone who works in your medical practice.
You can also self-refer by speaking to the receptionist at your medical practice.
Our service is free from the NHS and there is no fixed time frame for the support we can offer you.
The Social Prescribing Link Workers are all trained and licensed to use the Triangles Well-being Star
(https://www.outcomesstar.org.uk/using-the-star/see-the-stars/well-being-star/) to guide their conversation with a person referred to the service and to provide a tool which together they can measure any changes that the individual makes.
The Well-Being Star supports and measures progress in eight outcome areas that together enable people to live as well as they can with a long term health condition.
‘What is available to help me manage living with… my long-term condition?’
Living with a long-term condition can be an on-going strain on your resources. Developing sustainable support and making simple lifestyle changes to enable you to manage your long-term condition(s) can improve your overall quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
One of the ways Social Prescribing Link Workers will support you with this is understanding ’what is important to you’ and essential to your quality of life – be it socialising, education, working, being creative, exercising, enjoying entertainment or just feeling good! They will work together to achieve these goals. They will help you develop problem solving skills, coping strategies, set achievable goals, manage relationships and find quality of life in difficult circumstances. They will link you to agencies, peer support groups and education to enhance your understanding and living with your condition.
‘I am currently working however I am finding it difficult to manage being at work due to my health conditions’.
Your Social Prescribing Link Worker will explore with you what your health conditions are and how they are impacting your ability to work. They will ask you questions to get an idea of what support you feel you need. They may provide you with information about managing work with a disability and signpost you to organisations who may be able to offer you support at work
Access to work – Access to work is a GOV.UK support to enable you to be able to stay in work if you have an illness or
disability. They can come to your workplace and complete a ‘work-place assessment’ and based on the assessment give your employer recommendations for any changes which should be made. Access to work also supply grants which may enable you to stay in work. https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
Scope – Scope is an organisation which focuses on equality for people who have a disability. They offer advice and
support via internet, telephone and in some cases one to ones. They will work with you to advise you of your rights as
someone who lives with a disability and may suggest exploring reasonable adjustments in the workplace. They have an online forum you can access for emotional support. For more information please see the link below.
'I am feeling lonely and need to do some exercise, but my physical disability stops me, what can I do?'
Your Social Prescribing Link Worker will work with you to explore your physical disability and more importantly what you are able to do. They may look at any current support you are having and see if it can be added to. They may suggest other support you can access to exercise while considering any physical constraints you have. This support could be for example:
Health walks – Health walks are a free easy to access community walk to enable you to get out and meet new people while enjoying a gentle exercise. For more information please see the following link:
Seated exercise – Seated exercise classes are a great way for someone who may have difficulties with their mobility.
They are held in local community sites and offer a range of different exercises depending on your abilities. For more information please see the following link:
‘I am having some financial issues and I am not sure how I can cope to pay my debts’.
Your Social Prescribing Link Worker will first ask you some questions related to your financial situation or debt. This is to get a better understanding of the support you wish to have and explore with you the best areas of support. They will confirm if you are already having support with these issues and if not, they may suggest some debt advice from the following organisations:
Community Law – Community Law is a free to access support in the Northamptonshire area which offers support to manage benefit, housing or debt issues. They are experienced in all these areas and your social prescribing link worker may suggest a referral to one of their advisors. For more information please see the following link:
Step change – Step change is a charitable organisation experienced in supporting people to manage their debt. They can offer free advice and support and explore with you the best option for debt management. They also have access to online debt advice and debt calculators enabling you to take control of your own finances. For more information please see this link: https://www.stepchange.org/
Social Prescribing Link Workers work with you to co-produce a personalised plan which may include support for education or to gain employment.
This can be done by: Assessing your wellbeing, looking at how you care for yourself physically and emotionally.
Formulating a plan, routine and areas to develop, grow and mainstay.
Signposting to supportive community groups, to receive support and learn new skills, to connect with other like-minded people. Creating support for relaxation and wellbeing.
Supporting you in your search for education and employment opportunities, and recruitment processes. Linking you to employment support agencies.
Volunteering plays a very important part in social prescribing. Many of the organisations or groups social prescribers link into uses volunteers to offer support.
Choosing to volunteer can be a great way to improve your health and wellbeing; not only can it help you to become more socially active, learn new skills and build up your confidence and self-esteem, but you will also be doing something good. When we do good, we feel good!
Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes and there are many important volunteer roles in your local area including:
- Animals care volunteer
- Library customer assistant
Your social prescriber will work with you to explore the possibility of volunteering and how it can have a positive influence on your life. They will discuss options with you such as ‘What would you like to do?’ and ‘What skills do you have?’ Your social prescriber will then help link you into these opportunities and provide support while you take on the new challenge of volunteering.
For more information about volunteering in Northamptonshire contact your social prescriber or see the links below:
There are some 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK currently who provide invaluable support to family members or friends who have a disability, are elderly or are managing a long-term illness. This is an essential role, but carers also need support to maintain their own health and wellbeing.
Carers can include a parent supporting a child with a learning disability, an adult supporting a parent with dementia, a husband caring for his wife who has a physical disability or a school-child who is relied on by their parent who has a mental health condition.
Caring for someone can have a big impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing. It can also lead to physical problems, loss of identity, anxiety and depression. It can also impact on the relationship a carer has with the person they care for.
Your social prescriber will explore with you the impact caring for a family member or loved one has had on you. They will explore with you what support you feel you need to continue in your role as carer and should you wish will work with you to access carer support in your local community linking you in with local organisations who can provide support such as:
- Respite Care
- One to one support
- Group activities
- Wellbeing activities
No one should be left alone, and it is vital that all unpaid carers feel supported in their caring role, or feel supported to stop caring, if that’s what they choose.
If you would like more information on carers support, please contact your social prescriber or see information links below: