Our Link Workers have been providing support throughout the coronavirus pandemic and are continuing to work with clients to find out what suits them best and will also ensure everyone's safety.
The Social Prescribing Service started in September 2019, working with 24 GP Surgeries across north Northamptonshire, in partnership with 3Sixty Care Partnership. Our five social prescribing link workers (SPLW) have supported over 3,546 people in one way or another, helping them explore what is important to them and find local activities and services that improve their wellbeing.
Empowering people to take control
Social prescribing empowers people to take control of their health and wellbeing through referral to non-medical ‘link workers’ who give time and focus on "what matters to me". The service takes a holistic approach, connecting people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support. Link workers support existing groups to be accessible and sustainable and work collaboratively with all local partners.
Social prescribing can help to strengthen community resilience and personal resilience and reduces health inequalities. Our Link Workers help address the wider determinants of health, such as debt, poor housing and physical inactivity. Increasing people’s active involvement, supporting people with long-term conditions (including support for mental health), and people who are lonely or isolated can have a positive effect on wellbeing.
During the coronavirus pandemic we have continued to provide support
In the middle of May our Link Worker Jonathan made a home visit to a social prescribing service client. This was the first home visit he had made since the Lockdown started. The PPE he wore was provided by Abbey Medical Practice, one of the surgeries he works with in the Wellingborough & District Primary Care Network. The home visit was only possible after a few telephone welfare calls, building trust and rapport, to support the needs of a single parent family with housing issues. Covid-19 has provided challenges and difficulty for Social Prescribing Link Workers to manage and fulfil their caseloads effectively. However, this protected home visit provided hope and reassurance to the patient that they are not alone.
"This gives a small glimpse of the work we are able to do as social prescribing link workers," says Jonathan. Although this has been the only visit made between the four Age UK Northamptonshire SPLWs during Lockdown, we have been busier than usual making welfare telephone calls and speaking to clients on the telephone and signposting people to online services. The need for support during the coronavirus pandemic has increased rather than reduced as many peple feel anxious, even if they are not leaving their home as much as usual.