RedbridgeCVS Social Prescribing project responds to increased need for support during the pandemic

An image of a social prescribing link worker and a client seated together at a desk discussing and making notes.
Friday, 1 October, 2021

RedbridgeCVS’s Social Prescribing service has seen a big increase in the number of people getting support from us in the last year. Social prescribing provides social interventions to help people with type 2 diabetes, low level mental health issues, who experience social isolation or who are carers. The service received 370 referrals from Redbridge GPs between July 2020 and June 2021 – an increase of over a third compared with the previous year.

The disruption of the pandemic has meant an increase in the number of complex cases and those related to mental health issues. Staff have also changed the way they work, offering clients telephone and virtual support as an alternative to face-to-face meetings. Two cases give an example of the issues clients face and how the team is able to help.

Case 1

A middle-aged Indian man experienced health issues, as well as problems with domestic violence, his drinking and depression following a bereavement. When referred he had no money and had had no food for the previous 3 days. The SP Advisor worked closely with the client and offered motivational and behaviour change support.  The SP Advisor made referrals to Redbridge Mutual Aid, Redbridge Wellbeing Service and City Gates, who delivered cooked food and a food parcel. The SP Advisor supported the client to get his benefits reinstated, and liaised with Social Services who were able to intervene and support him around domestic violence and his drinking.

Case 2

A young man had lost his job because of the pandemic and was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. His poor mental health had contributed to his marriage breakdown and him losing his home. The SP advisor provided regular telephone and virtual based support through which the advisor provided motivational and behaviour change support. When the client was ready, he was referred to mental health and employment agencies, and he was able to get support from the NHS, Richmond Fellowship and Work Redbridge, and now feels more in control of his life.

The Social Prescribing service is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, with match funding from Redbridge Council and Redbridge CCG. The service is overseen by a Social Prescribing Board chaired by the Deputy Director of Public Health with representation from Redbridge Council, the CCG and the voluntary sector. People can be referred to the service by their GP.


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