Voluntary Action South West Surrey launches new Social Prescribing service

Happy #SocialPrescribingDay! We’re delighted to announce that we are offering a new Social prescribing service that gives people more choice and control over the way their health care is provided.

New member to the Voluntary Action team Jane Soothill explains how the service works and what users can expect from it. She said: “We’re excited about this new opportunity to connect people across Guildford and Waverley boroughs with what’s going on in their community and to create new links between community groups and some of our most vulnerable and isolated residents. 

Social prescribing is part of the NHS Long-Term Plan’s commitment to personalised care, which gives people more choice and control over the way their health care is delivered. Social prescribing is an integrated approach to health and social care, and offers a more holistic understanding of what it means to live well.”

Jane and another new member of the Voluntary Action team, Nicola Freeman, will be busy as link workers for the scheme.

Jane added: “You can speak to your GP, or any local agency such as community nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers or local authorities, about social prescribing.

“They can put you in touch with the right support for you. This may be with myself or my colleague. Nicola. We will support you to create a personalised support plan that will link you to the people, activities and resources that might help you to feel better and live well.

“There are a number of benefits as social prescribing is a way for health and social care professionals to prescribe the sort of help and support that doesn’t come in the shape of a pill.

“GPs often see people who are feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried about work, money or housing. Sometimes people become cut off from their local community because of challenges associated with managing a long-term health condition, or because they are caring for someone who couldn’t manage without their help.

“Social prescribing recognises that people’s lives are complicated. One aspect of a person’s life, such as a disability, ageing or a long-term health condition, often has an impact on another such as work, skills, relationships and confidence.  Social prescribing addresses this head on. It tackles social isolation, loneliness and stress by joining the dots between health care and social provision.

“It also provides a pathway for personal learning, individual wellbeing, resilience and behaviour change. It empowers people to set their own agenda for living well.  

“It isn’t just about individuals. It’s about communities too. We will work collaboratively with voluntary organisations and community groups to increase the strength and capacity of our local community. Where gaps are identified in local provision there will be support to set up new groups and services.”

For more details contact Jane Soothill at Voluntary Action South West Surrey on 01483 504626. Email: j.soothill@vasws.org.uk