New webinar presents social prescribing for the COVID-19 world

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The Hampshire and IoW Social Prescribing Network met online for the first time on 19th May 2020. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, it made its first-ever webinar available as a unique resource for voluntary and public sector organisations.

More than 1 in 4 patients visit their GP due to health and well-being concerns resulting from issues of social welfare, rather than a purely medical need. The underlying causes may include loneliness and social isolation, anxiety and depression, as well as difficulty accessing resources and support services for their specific needs. Social prescribing enables GPs and other voluntary sector organisations to connect people with a link worker or health connector who helps them plan personalised solutions to improve their health and well-being. They may also recruit trained Surgery Signposting volunteers, who take the time to listen and signpost people to local groups and organisations. The voluntary sector plays a key role as it is often charities and other voluntary organisations providing the services that help people meet their
social, emotional, or practical needs for staying well.

The Hampshire and IoW Social Prescribing Network, established in 2017, is coordinated by Community First and Gosport Voluntary Action. It is funded by Hampshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and has 190 members including NHS, Community Voluntary Services (CVS), a wide range of voluntary and health organisations, local district and borough councils, and Hampshire County Council. The Network’s purpose is cross-sector working to share best practice, provide mutual support, find solutions to common issues, and to influence and promote social prescribing across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. While the Networks’ four annual meetings previously took place in partner venues across the county, they recently moved online for the first time to continue essential health and well-being discussions during COVID-19.

The Network’s facilitator Angela Gill said:

Social Prescribing is more important than ever during COVID-19. Many people of all ages are feeling increasingly isolated and anxious, and are unable to engage with family and/or friends. Social Prescribing services and projects are successfully adapting to COVID-19 to ensure that they can continue to support those who need it most. The inaugural Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Network Webinar ‘How Social Prescribing & Local Services are Adapting to COVID-19?’ gives a unique and fascinating insight into how some of Hampshire’s projects and services have remodelled to help vulnerable people in a different way.

The new webinar, ‘How Social Prescribing & Local Services are Adapting to COVID-19’, is available to watch on Community First’s website (https://www.cfirst.org.uk/news/hants-iowsocial-prescribing-webinar-19052020/). Hampshire County Council, Citizens Advice Hampshire, Age Concern Hampshire, British Red Cross, and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs each present their support services and explain how they are adapting to meet changing needs and safety requirements during COVID-19. Local social prescribers also give their latest updates, including Donna Simpson from Southern NHS Health Foundation Trust, Olly Leicester from the Coastal Medical Partnership in New Milton, and Nicky Judd from SO:Linked. Attendees at the live online session were able to ask questions after each presentation and at the end of the meeting.

Due to the a very positive response from webinar attendees, a Q&A Webinar for the Hampshire and IoW Social Prescribing Network is now being planned for Thursday 16th July at 2pm, with further details to be confirmed closer to the time. If you would like to know moreabout the Network, are interested in joining, or would like to attend the next webinar, please contact Lin Dudman from Community First: lin.dudman@cfirst.org.uk

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