Let’s celebrate the benefits of social prescribing on 14 March

The work of social prescribers in helping thousands of people in Derby and Derbyshire to improve their health and wellbeing is to be celebrated on national social prescribing day on 14 March.

All GP practices have a social prescriber – who is there to support people through non-clinical ways, often by connecting them with local community activities and services.

Data for the 12 months of 2023 in Derby and Derbyshire held in the local case management system shows:

  • 11,645 people were supported by social prescribers
  • People supported had nine fewer appointments at their GP practice, compared to their previous attendance
  • 76% of people supported said their wellbeing had improved
  • 661 community and voluntary sector services were used by people as a result of being referred by a social prescriber

Social prescribers often encourage people referred to them to take part in social events such as coffee mornings, walking groups or gardening groups.

Some of Derby’s social prescribers will be in the Derbion shopping centre to explain their role on Wednesday 14 March, between 9:30am and 3:30pm.

In Glossop social prescribers will be at the local Tesco in Wren Nest Road to talk to local people.

There will also be a further opportunity to find out more at a Derbyshire Dialogue online event on Wednesday 20 March from 1pm to 2pm.

Sean Hedley, lead social prescriber with Greater Derby Primary Care Network, will be at the Derbion centre.

He said: “Patients are referred to us by the GP and we can support with issues that are non-clinical. It may be loneliness, isolation or issues such as housing or finances.

“We can support them in managing and resolving those issues, which in turn supports their health and wellbeing.”

Judith Kelf, lead social prescriber at Belper Primary Care Network added: “Through connecting people with support networks, friendship groups and social activities social prescribers are helping to foster healthier and happier communities.”

Social prescribers help people to address and manage the things that affect health that can’t be treated by doctors or medicine alone. These often include loneliness, debt, stress due to financial pressures or poor housing. 

Potential support could include:

  • helping someone who is isolated join a befriending group, an art class or a community gardening project, based on what works for them
  • connecting someone struggling with financial stress to a service that helps with managing debt or claiming benefits
  • supporting someone with dementia to join a dementia choir, enabling them to maintain a sense of social connection
  • working with someone with high blood pressure to take up a form of exercise that they’re comfortable with.

Examples of social prescribing projects taking place in Derby and Derbyshire include:

  • Coffee mornings in Derby that provide a meeting place for people who are often widowed or lonely
  • A full programme of events is held in Belper, including
    • Coffee mornings daily at The Weston Centre in Duffield and on Fridays at the Ada Belfield Centre Café
    • Yoga classes at reduced cost
    • Support from the mental health charity Rethink and reduced-price drinks and chat at Dot Teas café, plus a chat group at the Strutt Centre weekly
    • Craft and creativity at No28 Community Venue
    • Support sessions at Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre
    • Advice and support through the local Citizens’ Advice and Hope for Belper
  • The Tea, Talk and Tech café, which supports people with digital skills, in Ashbourne
  • Coffee mornings on Mondays at the Greyhound in Belper and on Fridays at the Ada Belfield Centre Café in Belper
  • Nature prescriptions, working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to connect people with nature through activities such as birdwatching or walking