Prescription for Wellbeing
In 2014, the CCG appointed Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS to deliver a small grants programme across East Lancashire. Known as the Social Prescribing Grants Scheme, the programme aimed to fund small, local voluntary and community organisations to provide socially orientated support to meet local needs and make a positive difference to the lives and wellbeing of people locally.
What is Social Prescribing?
Social prescribing (sometimes called Community Referral) is a method of teaming people with mild to moderate health problems up with non-medical sources of support available within their community. It can be defined as a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector. Those services can include everything from debt counselling, support groups and walking clubs, to community cooking classes and one-to-one peer mentoring. Social prescriptions can be seen as a natural extension to information prescriptions, which are tailored information given to patients to help them make informed choices about their care and access a wider range of services, such as social care, housing and leisure services. There is a growing acceptance in the medical community that people who lead happy and active social lives enjoy better health than those who do not. Whilst medical interventions are of course necessary to treat specific conditions or health problems, the importance of strong social networks, access to friends, family and support, and an active social life should not be underestimated. Evidence shows for instance that people who have a strong social support means are more likely to take prescribed medicines, and that exercise reduces the likelihood of people recovering from depression. The main goal of social prescribing is to promote better patient outcomes, whether that is reduced heart disease, better management of diabetes, or improved mental health. But importantly in this climate of reducing budgets and increasing demands in the NHS, they are also part of concerted efforts to reduce the number of referrals into hospitals (secondary care) or uptake of more costly interventions. Research has shown that these approaches can lead to more appropriate use of health care professionals’ time, and reduce unnecessary medical prescribing.
Who can apply to the Grant Programme?
The grants are being made available to community projects in Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale. A similar scheme is available in Hyndburn and Ribblesdale and is administered by Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Council for Voluntary Service. For projects covering more than one district please speak to a member of CVS staff before submitting an application. Applicants must be a constituted voluntary, community, faith group, a registered charity, not for profit and have appropriate governance in place, including the policies and procedures required to deliver the service being offered. Copies may be requested as necessary but please note that your local CVS may visit the group to monitor the policies in place and ensure appropriate governance structure. If necessary, support can be provided. Applicants must be able to comply with the required monitoring and evaluation which will also need to show how they work with their local CVS and other agencies to link into GP practices and other primary care bodies.
How much money can groups apply for?
Groups can apply for amounts between £500 and £10,000 to deliver activity across one district in East Lancashire. It is expected that organisations wanting to deliver across multi district and apply for over £10,000 will contact BPRCVS and discuss their proposal before an application can be submitted. Activity must be completed within the period April 2015 to March 2016. Monitoring will be proportionate to the amount approved and at intervals on an agreed schedule.