Getting to grips with social prescribing and community based support

Social prescribing is not a new concept and it’s becoming increasingly important.

For many years, voluntary and community groups, and social enterprises (VCSEs) have been providing activities and services which improve people’s overall health and wellbeing and connect them to their local communities.

This work has been increasingly recognised, in particular during changes to lives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Social Prescribing and Community-based Support Guide provides an overview and checklist for organisations to make sure they have everything in place to provide this support to people. The checklists can be downloaded to use as working self-assessment documents to identify any gaps and links to resources that can be freely accessed.

As the coronavirus crisis continues, we know that more people are needing personal help to reconnect, get out and about and, when the situation allows, to get involved in activities. VCSEs and the army of volunteers we have are providing help in all manner of ways; helping people who are experiencing anxiety for their own health and that of others around them; keeping people connected by having regular chats and conversations. This guide is intended to signpost colleagues providing support in any way to resources to help them in their work with people of all ages in their communities.

Best practice checklists A and B

Checklists A and B have been produced from national guidance and information from link workers about their expectations and practices. These short self-assessment checklists are included in the Social Prescribing and Community-based Support Guide, detailing recommended best practice policy and governance requirements for organisations to have in place, as well as referral and management processes to work effectively with link workers.

The checklists can be downloaded and used as working documents to record the resources organisations have in place and actions to be taken.

Checklist A – Policy and governance requirements

Many voluntary organisations and charities that provide services will already have quality assurance policies and procedures in place, particularly where they employ staff.

Link workers will ask key questions of VCS service provider to ensure necessary policies for quality assurance are in place.

The self-assessment Checklist A, lists policy and governance documents and provides links to national and Community First Yorkshire resources which will help groups to establish how relevant the document is to the organisation and activities. The checklist also includes links to template documents. It is important to note a number of the requirements may not be applicable to every individual situation.

Checklist B – Referral and management requirements

In addition to policies and other documents, link workers will ask key questions of VCS service providers to check processes and capabilities are in place to respond to referrals.