Community health

£5 million for social prescribing to tackle the impacts of Covid-19

By - Integrated Care Journal
£5 million for social prescribing to tackle the impacts of Covid-19

The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) has recently been awarded £5 million in funding to support people to stay connected and maintain their health and wellbeing following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NASP is working with partners such as the Arts Council England, Natural England, Money and Pensions Service, NHS Charities Together, Sport England and NHS England. The academy will support a range of local community activities.

The Government hopes the funding will connect people to initiatives in their local communities to help improve their mental health and wellbeing in response to the impact of Covid-19. The money will be spent on a range of areas including improved green spaces, singing and physical activities as well as access to tailored debt advice.

“This new funding is hugely important, as it will allow us to build on the merits of social prescribing and encourage innovation in local projects, as well as supporting people to remain connected with their local community, reduce loneliness and improve their wellbeing," said Minister for Health, Jo Churchill.

NASP projects: 

  • Newcastle United Foundation ‘Be a Game Changer’ programme and The Foundation ‘12th Man’ programme which work to support men with mental health issues.
  • Art by Post created under lockdown. The Southbank Centre sends free creative activity booklets to people across the UK who are living with dementia and other chronic health conditions.
  • Improved green spaces which link workers and connect people to their local wildlife and wider activities including food growing, healthy cooking, wildlife gardening, environmental art and crafts, music workshops, and beekeeping.
  • English National Opera (ENO) which has partnered with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to devise an integrated six-week pilot programme of singing, breathing and wellbeing aimed at supporting and enhancing the recovery of Covid-19 survivors.
  • The Money and Pensions Service and Mental Health UK have created a Money Support Pack for people who need support with their mental health as a result of Covid-19.

Welcoming the funding, Chief Executive Officer of the National Academy for Social Prescribing, James Sanderson, said: “Now more than ever, the pandemic has shown the value of social prescribing in helping people to stay connected, feel supported and to maintain their wellbeing. ”

One the leading partnerships is the partnership work with football clubs to help build on initiatives such as what is currently happening with Newcastle United Foundation ‘Be a Game Changer’ programme, which has already supported over 2000 men, typically over 40 years old, who traditionally avoid NHS services, may have been impacted by Covid-19 and most at risk of suicide.

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