Woodwork workshopa bench with lots of tools and materials on.

This Social Prescribing Day, 9 March 2023, we are celebrating the individuals and organisations helping people live well in communities across the region.

Many things that affect our health and wellbeing can’t be treated by doctors or medicine alone and over the last year, more than 35,000 people have been supported through social prescribing in Greater Manchester.

Circumstances such as finances; mental and physical needs; loneliness and social isolation; dealing with chronic illness and housing and employment, can prevent us from being able to live well.

Social Prescribing helps people live the best life they can by connecting people to activities, groups and services that make a lasting difference.

Link workers provide time the GP or other professional doesn’t have to understand what a person wants to achieve and what help they might need, helping them find the right support. For some this might be meeting new people through gardening, receiving financial advice, or the opportunity to gain skills through volunteering.

Evidence shows this ‘more than medicine’ approach can reduce GP appointments, prescriptions, emergency admissions and lead to better self-management of long-term conditions. And people tell us it makes them feel happier, healthier and more connected.

In Greater Manchester this year:

  • over 35,000 people have been supported to live well through social prescribing
  • 360 link workers, care coordinators and health and wellbeing coaches have connected people into community support
  • at least 18,000 voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations are working with people every day to support them to live well

Working together, we are growing people’s skills, experience, confidence, resilience, self-esteem and plans for the future through:

  • learnings and legacy from our successful Nature for Health programme where over 60 new nature-based activities have been developed, supporting 850 people with mental health needs so far

National Academy of Social Prescribing, the organisation that runs #SocialPrescribingDay, visited Greater Manchester to learn more about how we are supporting people to live well in our communities. START in Salford and ARC in Stockport hosted a brilliant day.

Dr Tola Dabiri, National Lead for Arts and Culture, National Academy for Social Prescribing, said:

“We had a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring visit to Greater Manchester. At START and the ARC centre we saw social prescribing in action which is changing lives, addressing health inequalities and truly helping the community to live well.”

Link workers are working with people like Darab and Patrick everyday, improving their physical and mental wellbeing.

Darab, who had prediabetes, said:

“The diabetes social prescribing service has helped me so much. I have managed to make many changes to better my health and wouldn’t have known where to start without it. I am now eating better, feel fitter and have lost weight.”

Patrick, who felt suicidal when his employment came to a sudden end, said:

“I’m in a better place and for the first time in many months, I’m getting back to more my old self, taking things in my stride and feeling positive about the future.”

If you’d like to learn more about Social Prescribing, please watch this video with Julie Bentley, Social Prescribing Link Worker in Bury, talking about her role and the support Link Workers like her provide across the region: https://youtu.be/xgtmU2sTsj4


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