The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) and Arts Council England, Historic England and Natural England, NHS England and Improvement, Sport England, the Money and Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together, as part of the Thriving Communities Programme, will fund 37 community projects up to £50,000 each to further advance social prescribing and support communities as they recover from COVID-19.
A range of local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups will be given grants to support projects that unlock the power of social prescribing in their local areas, bringing together place-based partnerships across arts and culture, heritage, nature, physical exercise, financial wellbeing, health and care.
At a celebratory event to mark Social Prescribing Day the outcome of the £1.8m Thriving Communities fund to support projects has been announced including:
These local projects will bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – with a focus on those people most impacted by COVID-19 and health inequalities.
Local community partnerships will encourage innovation and improve the evidence base for social prescribing. Projects include football to support mental health, art for dementia, heritage trails and walks, improving green spaces, and singing to improve recovery from COVID-19.
This funding is delivered in a unique partnership between the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Historic England and Natural England, NHS England and Improvement, Sport England, the Money and Pensions Service, and NHS Charities Together, and is part of the Thriving Communities Programme. The budget was increased to support a high level of strong applicants.
The Fund is part of the Thriving Communities Programme, which works alongside existing local infrastructure agencies in helping local VCFSE groups and organisations to help them build stronger partnerships and connect people to community support. It aims to help these groups share learning, gain new ideas, access funding and develop partnerships across sectors.
James Sanderson, Chief Executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said: “The last year has shown how important social prescribing is in helping people to stay connected, feel supported and to maintain their wellbeing. We began our ambitious agenda to support people to live the best life they can by accessing support in their local communities based on what matters to them. We are so pleased to support, and encourage, these projects through the Thriving Communities Fund, to scale and spread social prescribing even further, and help our communities to thrive.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said: “At its heart the Thriving Communities Fund aims to support our communities to address many issues they face as the result of COVID-19, through innovative social prescribing. I know that the chosen projects will see huge benefits, which will ripple out into wider society. We look forward to working with them, as they unlock the power of social prescribing in their local areas, helping those people who really need it most.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England commented: “There’s growing evidence that taking part in cultural and creative activities, getting enough exercise and connecting with nature can really improve people’s physical and mental health. As we deal with the challenges of the pandemic, this has never been more important. Working with the National Academy for Social Prescribing and other partners – and thanks to National Lottery players – we’re making this investment to support 37 projects and partnerships that aim to help more than 8,000 people across England lead happier, healthier lives.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “Historic England is a proud partner of the Thriving Communities Fund, which uses the power of culture and heritage alongside nature, sport, health and financial support to benefit the communities most affected by the pandemic. Heritage is all around us – it shapes the character of the places we live and work in and gives us a sense of belonging and identity. We believe that the award winners will be great advocates for these values and we will continue to work with the National Academy for Social Prescribing to support the successful projects and partnerships in achieving this.”
Caroline Siarkiewicz, CEO of the Money and Pensions Service said: “The National Academy for Social Prescribing and Thriving Communities initiatives represent important examples of how different organisations can work together towards unified public service goals. We know that a truly thriving community needs support in physical, mental and financial health. As the organisation responsible for developing and coordinating the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, we support social prescribing as an important way to ensure people presenting with complex health problems have access to the widest possible range of services that can best support their needs.”
Natural England’s Chief Executive Marian Spain, said: “We are delighted to support the Thriving Communities programme, which harnesses the power of nature to support communities and voluntary organisations to help people connect with nature and get access to the outdoors, wherever they live. Research has shown for a long time that access to nature is hugely beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing and people’s real live experiences during the COVID-19 restrictions have shown this to be true. We look forward to working closely with the National Academy for Social Prescribing to help people everywhere enjoy those benefits as part of a truly green recovery.”
Ellie Orton, CEO of NHS Charities Together, said: “We’re proud to be part of this partnership which promotes the role of communities in improving health and wellbeing. Social prescribing through networks and local partnerships is playing a vital and increasing role in delivering health care at the local level and our latest grants programme is focused on investing in community projects through our 241 member charities across the UK.”
Nicola Gitsham, Head of Social Prescribing, NHS England and Improvement said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of communities coming together to support each other. Social prescribing link workers help people whose emotional and physical wellbeing has been badly affected by social and practical issues, so it’s great to work with NASP on this partnership programme which means that there will be more opportunities to connect people with local activities that can help them live healthier, happier lives.”
Rachel Spencer from Reading Voluntary Action, who will be delivering the Wild Being project encompassing arts, culture, nature, physical activity and life advice, said: “There is already a vibrant social prescribing network in Reading, which involves over 80 organisations providing holistic social, physical and cultural activities to improve wellbeing and support diverse communities. This project will enable 300 participants from Reading to benefit from a programme of activities to boost their mental health, skills, and relationships. We’re thrilled to get the funding and are excited to able to offer this diverse range of activities for people as they emerge from lockdown and the impact of Covid 19.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive Officer, Sport England commented: “Our partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing is an important and growing one. As we emerge from the pandemic it has never been more important to focus on our individual health and wellbeing and the reconnecting of our communities with the activities and sport they most enjoy. The opportunity to engage people in how being active can have a transformational impact on their mental and physical health is a core part of our future strategic ambition and we look forward to our continued collaboration to maximise those links.”
Rebecca Ball, Creative Director, Sunderland Culture, who will use the funding to create an inspiring range of high-quality creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families in Sunderland commented: “We are immensely grateful to have been awarded funding from the Thriving Communities Fund. We will work in partnership to develop and deliver social prescribing activities for carers and their families, many of whom have been hit hard by impact of the pandemic. Our programme includes singing for lung health, activities for young carers and for people with dementia, a Men’s Shed project, and doorstep creative activities. This critical support, at a crucial moment, will enable us to respond to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the lives of carers, support our city’s recovery and develop a partnership that can drive forward vital initiatives for the wellbeing of our communities in Sunderland.”
Which projects are being invested in?
Active Luton – Luton Thriving Communities
A rich programme of arts and culture embedded in Luton’s libraries, combining traditional library activities with an unconventional offering.
Norfolk Citizens Advice – Families Connect
Five ‘Families Connect Clubs’ to run creative arts and nature themed projects, including in schools.
Southampton Hospitals Trust – Regeneration
A programme across arts, creativity, sport and nature offering group, individual, in-person and online sessions to help reach vulnerable young people with impacted by COVID.
PCVS – Wonder Women
Wonder Women will support women to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 period, build confidence, meet with others, grow self-esteem and improve financial literacy.
Reading Voluntary Action – Wild Being
An extensive programme of arts, culture, nature, physical activity and life advice for 300 people including pop up arts, English language conversations, and gardening.
Robin Hood Health Foundation Prescribe to Thrive Partnership
Tailored social prescribing to reach 100 residents to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, alongside support for artists and creatives.
Slough Council for Voluntary Services – Supporting Well Being through Creativity
A range of activities from community link groups covering health, exercise, arts, music dance, chats, environmental understanding, happiness get-togethers and more.
Your Leisure Kent Ltd – Dover Thriving Communities Project
Working within a Harmonia Dementia Village and wider Dover area to enable a social prescription focus for those facing dementia and their carers.
Argyle Community Trust Green Social Prescribing
A health and wellbeing programme in Central Park, Plymouth, to enhance use and enjoyment of green space and green social prescribing.
Creative Shift CIC Bristol Thriving Communities
Six programmes of arts and health, nature based and physical activity to help communities cope with the impact of the pandemic.
The YOU Trust Thriving Coastal Communities
Open water swimming, cycling, cooking and walking football are all on the agenda for carers groups in Portsmouth, alongside arts projects for 30 people with autism
The Arts Development Company – Linking Dorset
Dorset Nature Buddies will see 30 trained Nature Buddies; 6 providers signed up to networks; and 30 nature-inspired arts activities to 150 community groups.
Exeter Community Centre Trust – All’s Well
Heritage activities to engage local communities for health and wellbeing with 30 volunteers, 220 participants in 18 St David’s Trails, and 3000+ visitors to events and exhibitions.
Southampton Hospitals Charity – Regeneration Southampton & Hampshire
Space2 will reach 287 new residents through culturally diverse dance classes, sport movement sessions, volunteering, green prescribing and more.
Spark Somerset – Growing Social Prescribing in Somerset
In-person and remote activities with a wide and varied programme across sector to create an inclusive, integrated and sustainable social prescribing programme.
Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust – Thriving Communities in Ross on Wye
The CLOVER project (Creative Leisure Outdoors & Volunteer Exchange Ross-on-Wye) will pilot a sustainable, creative and transferable model of social prescribing.
Ashfield Voluntary Action – Inspiring Ashfield
Inspiring Ashfield will explore creative ways of engaging with the community, giving people creative methods to express themselves and shape activities.
Canal & River Trust – Nottingham & Beeston Canal
The Canal & River Trust will lead partners will use the natural asset of the Nottingham & Beeston Canal to provide physical activity, art, heritage and food-based activities, reaching c.430 people.
Culture Coventry – Go Connect
Go Well-being brings together expertise in health, physical activity, culture, and the voluntary sector creating a support system for 1200 people.
Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust – Northampton Wellbeing Partnership
The establishment of the first Green Happy café in the country, as a wellbeing hub promoting green social prescribing.
Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council – Young People Social Prescribing
The project will work with 150 young people aged 13-17 to form an integrated element of the city-wide social prescribing service.
Friends of Stretford Public Hall Ltd – Thriving Communities Trafford
Varied programme of activity covering all elements of social prescribing, based in local coops that already engage many of the local community.
Green Close – Green Close Phoenix Rising Project
Varied activities that promote recovery, reduce anxiety, build resilience and empowerment, meet community needs and preferences.
Petrus Community – Rochdale Social Prescribing Network
Petrus will offer frontline homelessness support alongside longer-term therapeutic and voluntary including the community horticulture project PIER.
Heartlands Thrive in SW Durham
Thrive will provide regular weekly sessions of a varied programme of arts, sports, outdoor activities, advice, support and social contact.
The Bureau Centre for the Arts CIC – Thrive Blackburn and Darwen
Through the creation of a social prescribing hub venue at the Bureau and a co-created outdoor space, partners will link arts provision with green recovery.
Heeley Development Trust – Happier Healthier Heeley Plus
A range of creative, green and physical activities to help people reconnect – including bicycle powered Shakespeare.
Third Sector Leaders Kirklees – Well Connected North Kirklees
This project will provide a wide range of accessible, enjoyable activities to address urgent local health priorities including diabetes, obesity, and mental health.
The Artworks – Calderdale Thriving Communities
Project drawing on Calderdale’s distinctiveness to develop multi-disciplinary activity that combines creativity, physical activity and dramatic landscapes and environments.
Helix Arts Ltd – Better Connect
North Tyneside initiative to use arts for health to support over 350 carers who feel disconnected, revitalising a sense of community.
Sunderland Culture Sunderland Social Prescribing Partnership
High-quality creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families including doorstep delivery, men’s shed, outdoor volunteering and singing for lung health.
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Connectivity & Co-Production
Strong, accessible ‘hospital to home to community’ pathways for Link Workers & NHS staff to form a vibrant social prescribing culture in the region.
The Bridge Renewal Trust – Thrive Haringey
A wide range of co-produced practical neighbourhood-based community activities, including juggling for wellbeing, lockdown lunch, and telephone circles.
Her Centre & Tramshed
Award to Greenwich projects for social prescribing for young people experiencing domestic violence in vulnerable communities, centred around creativity.
OrganicLea – Moving in Nature
Participatory wellbeing activities in green spaces using various methods including gardening, forest bathing, nature conservation, yoga, cycling lessons, green volunteering, craft making and community meals.
St Margaret’s House – The Health Tree
The Health Tree will create a network bringing link workers and voluntary sector together to enhance the wellbeing through a cohesive arts-based health and wellbeing offer.
Studio 3 Arts Thames Ward (LBBD) – Thriving Communities Partnership
Thames Ward aims to create a dispersed ‘system of health’ with free activities to test a social prescribing model.