Emerging Leaders in Social Prescribing


Social Prescriber Link Workers graduate from the North East London Emerging Leaders Link Worker Programme

Pioneering leadership programme for Social Prescribing Link Workers

North East London is one of the first areas in the country to develop a comprehensive leadership programme for Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs). The first cohort of 11 SPLWs successfully completed the Emerging Leaders Link Worker (ELLW) programme, which culminated in a wonderful graduation event in March 2022.

This innovative programme was founded and developed by Gita Malhotra. It was built around the principles of authentic and distributed leadership, creating the right conditions to harness the incredible talent and capability of SPLWs.  

A key aim was to empower and enable Link Workers by offering them the skills, tools, opportunities, and experiences to develop their expertise. They were encouraged and supported to take learning back into the workplace to influence and enhance social prescribing systems.

The content was co-designed with local social prescribing managers with insight from Link Workers and launched in November 2021. The programme was open to all Social Prescribing Link Workers in north east London, with a minimum of at least one year of experience and applications had to be endorsed by clinical directors.  

The three-month leadership skills development programme started in January 2022. It involved collaboration with leading edge providers and trainers, guest speakers and gave participants access to system leaders. SPLWs had the opportunity to gain practical skills and knowledge, helping them to realise their own leadership potential, aspirations, and ambitions. Participants developed an action learning set as part of the programme alongside modules on topics including:

  • coaching
  • mentoring
  • negotiation
  • introduction to quality improvement
  • networks and partnership development
  • personal authority and power
  • presentation skills

Gita explains the approach used to develop the programme. "We set the bar very high on this programme, asking our participants to trust in the process, harness reflection skills, challenge and bring their whole selves – to dig deep. The change, confidence, and positive impact of the programme at the graduation event was amazing to witness, brimming with ideas and ambitions for social prescribing 

"It is all a testament to their commitment, tenacity, and hard work. The ELLW is designed to support growth and harness the talent of our social prescribing link workers and it was a privilege to see the impact of the programme on our first cohort of participants.’"

What next?

An influencing report about the ELLW, with detailed evaluation and feedback from participants, plus testimonials from Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and our training partners is being developed.

Looking forward to the next stage, Gita said, "We will take the learning to shape plans for our 2nd cohort later in 2022 and consider expansion to other personalised care roles. We'll also be exploring accreditation and plan to track the amazing progress of our first cohort."

For more information please contact Gita Malhotra, Social Prescribing/Personalised Care Strategic Workforce Development Lead in north east London. 

books on a table

In May 2022, the North East London Emerging Leaders Link Worker (ELLW) Programme was announced as winner of the 'Social Prescribing Workforce Initiative of the Year' in the Link Worker Day 2022 Awards hosted by the National Association of Link Workers.

"I am very grateful for this training programme offered, it is a generous yet necessary offer for SPLWs to tap into our potential and nurture our personal and professional growth and to inspire ourselves about 'what is possible'"
Social Prescribing Link Worker course participant 

"North East London has an amazing range of social prescribing teams and leaders, and we have an ambitious programme to provide the best possible support to our link workers. We want to help our link workers deliver the best possible service to residents and communities and developing our workforce through a leadership programme is absolutely pivotal. 

"We hope that the emerging leaders link workers pilot is the starting point on our journey towards setting up an ongoing leadership development programme for link workers and other personalised care staff. A massive thank you to Gita Malhotra and all our social prescribing leads who have co-designed the programme – we hope it is of benefit to you and your teams this year and in future years to come."

Mark Scott, Lead for the Personalised Care and Babies, Children and Young People’s Programmes. NELCCG HCP


Updated: 16/08/2022