What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing, or community referral, is about linking people to non-medical sources of support in the community. Recognising that social issues have a major impact on health and wellbeing outcomes throughout the life course, it is vital that people have access to community-based support to address such challenges.

Social prescribing often has key service elements; namely a navigating function – in which trained staff support people to identify social challenges, map strengths, talents and community resources and develop a plan to move forward together. Secondly, social prescribing services often include the provision of education, training and social inclusion activities that provide opportunities to build support networks, learn new skills and have fun.

Wellbeing Enterprises’ has 15 years’ experience co-designing and co-delivering social prescribing initiatives across the UK. Our Ways to Wellbeing social prescribing services have received national recognition and have been successfully integrated at scale in general practice, community and secondary healthcare services; helping to augment the efforts of clinical staff and providing a much-needed social support structure for patients. Indeed, one clinician said of Wellbeing Enterprises’ social prescribing provision that it is “far more effective than the prescription pad in responding to the social circumstances of patients’ lives”.