In my last blog back in 2017, I wrote about the expansion of our Health and Wellbeing Buddy work to include a new Social Prescribing element. Since then we have made excellent progress and are delighted to say that we can now to offer the scheme to patients from all GP practices in Redbridge.
Our Social Prescribing scheme enables GPs in Redbridge to refer any adult patient affected by one or more of the following conditions:
- Social isolation
- Feeling low, sad or anxious
- Type 2 Diabetes.
Referrals come to RedbridgeCVS’ Health and Wellbeing Coordinators who assign one of our team of local Health and Wellbeing Buddies to the individual referred to us. The Buddy then arranges to meet the client at a time and place of their choosing. The Buddies spend time getting to know the needs and aspirations of the client, before supporting, motivating and guiding them. We help people to access a range of non-medical, community-based services, groups and social activities. These can help people address underlying issues and find ongoing support in their local community.
The Buddies are all formally trained in Safeguarding Adults, Behaviour Change, Motivational Interviewing, and Communication Skills, as well as having access to our database of local services offered by the community, voluntary and statutory sector.
Since the launch of our Social Prescribing scheme, our team of eight Health and Wellbeing Buddies and a Social Prescribing Coordinator have been working very closely with the clients. We have received 112 referrals from 9 General Practices in Fairlop (where the scheme was initially offered).
We are now very pleased to announce that RedbridgeCVS was successful in securing more funding from the Department of Health and Social Care from October 2018. This means that we can expand the Social Prescribing Scheme to all 44 General Practices in Redbridge. This four year funding is match-funded by Redbridge Local Authority and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group and was awarded after a highly competitive national bidding process.
What our clients say about their experiences being part of Social Prescribing
Mr H was referred to our Social Prescribing service because he had become very socially isolated following a terminal illness being diagnosed. The Health and Wellbeing Buddy carried out a home visit and met with Mr H and his wife. They were able to arrange for Mr H to be referred to Macmillan and his wife to Redbridge Carers Support Services, a local charity supporting carers. Mr H’s wife told our Buddy, “Nargis, since you have been involved with our lives, we have received all the support very quickly for my terminally ill husband which we had been seeking for two years. Thanks a lot for all your help.”
Mrs J was referred to our Social Prescribing service for a low level mental health condition and social isolation. She has refugee status and is a single parent to two young children. She had no support in terms of friends and family and felt very alone. Mrs J was very stressed and feeling overwhelmed. The Health and Wellbeing Buddy referred her to Home-Start and Housing Advice services. Mrs J said, “I feel very tired to look after my children. Now I am very happy to get voluntary support for my very young children, I could relax for some time now. Thanks for your concern and help.”
Another client told us, “I never open up this quick, but Safaa [the Health and Wellbeing Buddy] made me feel warm and I felt comfortable in talking to her. I haven't smiled for ages, you made me smile today.”
What Health and Wellbeing Buddies say about their experience working on Social Prescribing
Nargis Farzana, one of our Buddies, says “Social Prescribing is a very new and exciting concept to me. I am enjoying my work. Most importantly I always want to do something for my community and Social Prescribing actually fulfilled my desire. I will always be thankful to RedbridgeCVS for giving me this opportunity”.
Madeeha Hina, another of our Buddies, says “Social Prescribing is very rewarding and I am enjoying it very much and learning problem solving skills because when I first went to meet a particular client, he was not responsive and socially isolated. He said to me that I cannot help him. After 6 month of supporting him, he is now attending groups and very welcoming to me. He shares his personal achievements such as his Jubilee Award from the Queen. He is very happy in terms of the support I gave him, and all the services that I referred to him because he did not know so much is available. He is really happy for getting the motivation to go out and promises to carry on after.”
For more information contact: Shahida Begum or Alexia Webb, RedbridgeCVS Social Prescribing Coordinators via email: email@example.com or phone: 07984971053; firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07494 898877.
For anonymised case studies of our clients, please see here.
RedbridgeCVS Health Partnerships Manager