The Alliance of Community-led Health Improvement Organisations

The Social Prescribing Project

The Social Prescribing Project will now be known as “SPRING Social Prescribing” with the new logo below.

The Healthy Living Centre Alliance in Northern Ireland (HLCA) and Scottish Communities for Health and Well-being (SCHW) are alliances of community led health and well-being improvement organisations.  Staff from both organisations have developed strong links over the past few years. Both organisations have recently undertaken community led pilot programmes in social prescribing in 2 locations in Northern Ireland and in 5 locations in Scotland.  This common agenda brought the two organisations together to consider how the lessons learned from the pilot programmes could be shared and applied across a wider range of communities in both regions.  

The evaluations of the pilot programmes in each country highlighted they had a very positive impact on the individuals engaged in the community based health improvement pathways. The pilot programmes operated in real partnerships with a range of agencies, including GP practices that referred individuals to the projects with social prescriptions.  It was obvious to all those engaged in the projects that they had the potential to address many of the issues facing health and social care services.

SCHW and the HLCA are made up of well established community led health and well-being improvement organisations, embedded in some of the most disadvantaged areas in both countries.  They are anchor organisations, respected and trusted in their communities.  They are in a unique position to not only develop strong partnerships with GP practices and other local organisations and care services but also to provide and deliver a wide range of activities and support to respond to individual needs identified in a social prescription  and social outcomes in personal health pathways.

In the current situation SPRING has had to be reviewed to ensure it can operate in the new challenging situations in communities. The review of SPRING has focussed on two phases, Transition and Recovery.  In the Transition phase a new approach within SPRING called “Connect Well” is in place. Connect Well enables the social prescribers in each location to maintain support for existing and new referrals to SPRING. The SPRING delivery model is being reviewed to produce new guidelines on health pathway planning, assessment of impact, sharing learning and establishing new referral routes. In the Recovery phase we will be reviewing how social prescriptions can be delivered, the use of digital technology responding to the increasing demand for support with social isolation and mental health issues and ensuring local partnerships with primary care professionals continue to be very positive and effective.

“How Social Prescribing Works”

Social prescribing at its best is not a signposting exercise or indeed a referral direct to a community service/activity etc.  It involves building relationships, taking a holistic approach and engaging individuals at the heart of the process.

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SCHW Response to the Social Renewal Advisory Board Report.

SCHW has produced a response to the Social Renewal Advisory Board's report "If Not Now ,When?".  This is an important report and has attracted a full response to its '20 Calls for Action' from the Scottish Government.  SCHW has responded to all the calls for action and we have highlighted how our "Blueprint for a Healthier Scotland" could, in partnership with the Scottish Government,  make a real and significant contribution to achieving the outcomes of the calls for action.

Please use this link below to read our full response to the report and to the points raised by the Scottish Government.

"If Not Now,When?" Response