Social prescribing and Community Chests in north east London

Social prescribing illustrations 10

Social prescribing – sometimes referred to as community referral – is a way for people to be connected, usually by link workers, with local, non-clinical services that can improve their health and wellbeing. The Bromley-by-Bow Centre in Tower Hamlets was an early leader of community-based social prescribing services that help improve outcomes for local people.

Social prescribing link workers typically have 6-12 phone calls or meetings over about three months with each person they are supporting and look after up to 250 people at a time.

They also work with local partners to support community groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new groups.

Social prescribing has given me my hope back” –  stories of how people’s lives are being changed by personalised care in north east London.

 Social prescribing can have a phenomenal impact” – reflections from social prescribers on how they support people and the difference it makes.

Community chests

A community chest for social prescribing is new money for voluntary and community activities that improve local people’s health and help them feel better, picked by the communities themselves.  They help to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are at a low ebb by enabling community and voluntary groups to respond to their practical and emotional needs.     

All seven place-based partnerships in north east London are using health inequalities funding to set up community chests for social prescribing in their areas, with expert logistical and facilitation support from the NHS North East London Personalised Care programme.  

 To identify where the need is greatest and decide how best to meet it, place-based partnerships are working with GPs, the social prescribing workforce, residents, and voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations to co-design their local approach.

This will enable them to fill the gaps for social prescribing referrals, street by street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood, for their residents who that need support the most.

UPDATED: 28/03/2023