What is social prescribing?
Social prescribing is when GPs, nurses and other professionals refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services offered by charities, community organisations and voluntary sector organisations.
The patient gets prescribed an activity, for example a ‘weekly dose’ of group gardening, to help with their physical or mental health and wellbeing. Whatever the activity, it can give people new life opportunities, help them form new relationships, be creative and increase their activity levels.
Social prescribing also empowers people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, and gives them a choice about their treatment – finding activities that work for them.
Many of the common problems that GPs see on the surgery, such as depression, back pain and type two diabetes, have a large social, environmental and lifestyle component, anyway – so it’s sensible to prescribe patients with something other than medication. It also makes economic sense, taking pressure off the NHS.
Social prescribing at the Eden Project
Since the programme began in 2016 we’ve helped hundreds of people, some of whom have had their lives completely changed around – from house-bound elderly people who now have new friends, to individuals living with anxiety who say they are much better able to manage their condition, to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients who are spending less time in hospital.
We also operate an outreach programme within our three closest primary healthcare settings, whereby an Eden staff member is employed to work with GPs and other staff in the surgeries to support them to access the programmes at Eden and other local community based activities. This is currently funded by the Department of Health and is part of a Cornwall wide programme.
How to get involved
If you know a friend or family member that could benefit from these activities, please contact Heidi Morgan on 01726 818550, 07817 875165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This programme is supported by the Pears Foundation and the Woodford Charitable Fund.