HAGA picked up an award for its work piloting an innovative social prescribing service in collaboration with JS Medical Practice and Haringey Council. The project scooped second place in the ‘Quality and Productivity’ category in the Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Innovation Awards.
We all know that it is ultimately communities, not services, that help people to improve their well-being, and that much the job of any health and social care service provider is to connect people to their community as a sustainable support and self-management network. Our social prescribing project, which launched in November 2015 and is funded by Haringey Council, offers patients at two local GP surgeries in Haringey, run by JS Medical Practice, non-medical support to improve their well-being, with a focus on those who are socially isolated, those with mild to moderate depression and the long-term unemployed.
Once someone has been referred by their GP or self-refers, HAGA’s Community Engagement Worker, herself a local resident, and the individual work together to co-produce a personalised well-being plan incorporating things matched to their interests, such as local fitness, learning and social activities. To support people in reaching their goals, our Community Engagement Worker offers three further follow-up appointments, providing advice, guidance and motivational support.
Through this pilot, HAGA has been able to offer people in Haringey support to build their self-esteem and engage in learning and social activities in an environment that they are familiar with and feel safe in (their GP surgery) and through a worker who knows the local area and the challenges that local residents face. HAGA is now working to expand a social prescribing model across Haringey. And it’s not just HAGA who think the project is working, read on for two case studies of people who have already benefited from this approach.
‘This pilot has opened another channel of communication for people who lack support through family and friends and want to know what is available in the community. They are now able to work towards their goals over a period of time through a combination of guidance and motivation through taking ownership of their goals.’
‘So far, patient feedback has been excellent, with patients already engaged in community activities, such as volunteering, learning computer skills, seated-based exercise, and yoga classes.’
Alexa is a carer for her daughter who has a disability. She has housing problems which cause her stress and she hasn’t felt connected to her community. Alexa has always wanted to do a counselling course.HAGA’s community engagement worker advised Alexa about the Markfield Project and Haringey Women’s Forum with an aim to motivate her towards her goals. Alexa has since completed an English test and has been called to visit the centre to improve her English skills. In a recent session, Alexa reported that she has started swimming lessons to help her with stress and anxiety. She explained the benefit of the Social Prescribing Service as ‘a step into the community
John lives alone and is divorced from his wife. John had four one-to-one sessions with a HAGA community engagement worker to explore how to improve his well-being. John shared that he has felt low in self-esteem and wanted to find out what he could get involved in locally. He did not have family in the Borough and was keen to build new friendships through training and exercise. HAGA’s community engagement worker worked with John to identify local health and training opportunities within his interest. John has since completed a CCTV training course and is looking to start work.