Volunteer Cornwall recently led a partnership bid to the Department of Health & Care for a Social Prescribing Scheme for Cornwall and we're pleased to say this was successful.
This means we will be investing £900,000 over the next 3 years with funding from the Department of Health and Care in year 1 and also from Public Health, Cornwall Council from year 2. This will not provide coverage for all of Cornwall’s population or practices, but is a significant investment in this approach.
Social prescribing means different things to different people, however, the Social Prescribing Network’s co-produced definition is: ‘Enabling healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker, to co-design a nonclinical social prescription to improve their health and wellbeing.’
The focus of our Social Prescribing approach will be addressing social and lifestyle issues at an early stage and preventing ill health rather than managing complex conditions later.
Find out more about how Social Prescribing works through this introductory video:
The partnership consists of 6 voluntary sector organisations and each partner will employ a Link Worker who will work with groups of Practices to take referrals, carry out a person-centred assessment and identify a wide range of appropriate activities to which to refer the person.
The areas have been chosen on the basis of population health need as follows:
Organisation Cluster Practices
Active Plus Penwith East Bodriggy, Marazion, Stennack
Active Plus Penwith West Alverton, Rosmellyn, Morab, Cape, Sunnyside*
Active Plus South Kerrier Helston, Meneage, Mullion, St Keverne
CN4C North Kerrier Clinton Rd, Manor, Phoenix, Veor
Chaos Group Truro Lander, Three Spires
Age UK Newquay Newquay Health Centre, Narrowcliff
Eden Project Rural Cluster/St Austell Clays, Brannel & St Austell
Pentreath Ltd Bodmin Carnewater, Stillmoor
Age UK Liskeard Oak Tree, Old Bridge, Rosedean
(*Funded by GP cluster for 1 year, working with, but not part of, our project)
On Wednesday 22nd May 2019, a range of VCS Workshops for East Cornwall, organised by Laura Chapman, Community Maker for Volunteer Cornwall, were held at Liskeard Pubic Hall to consult on the Social Prescribing Roll-out for the area. The workshops were very well supported and feedback from across the patch was very positive and enthusiastic in being involved in the future plans for the communities.
The NHS Long Term Plan and new GP contracts (starting July 2019), will see additional Social Prescribing Link Workers employed across the country. The workshops purpose included discussions with many local providers, patient participation group members and community groups, resulting in development of working together and to link with the new Primary Care Networks and gp surgeries going forward.
New Digital Software to Help Reduce Loneliness in Cornwall
People who are lonely in Cornwall will soon find it easier to access activities in their community following a new partnership between Cornwall Council and Elemental, a digital social prescribing programme.
This new software will upgrade the existing social prescribing service being led by Cornwall Council’s public health team and its partners Volunteer Cornwall, along with Active Plus, Age UK Cornwall, Chaos Café, CN4C, Eden Project and Pentreath Ltd.
There are currently 30 GP practices across Cornwall working with 12 link workers. The link workers meet with individuals to find out what sorts of support is available to them that meet their needs, such as volunteering, group learning, gardening, social activities, benefit advice and healthy lifestyle support.
Cornwall Council Public Health consultant Rachel Wigglesworth said: “We’re really proud to be introducing this digital software, especially as this week is Loneliness Awareness week. This will make everything more streamlined as, rather than each link worker working off different spreadsheets, all of the information will be stored in one place.
“It also supports GPs to refer people in to the service, as well as making it easier to understand whether people are getting value out of the service with improved monitoring abilities”.
Julie Pollard, Social Prescribing Co-ordinator, Volunteer Cornwall said “We are already seeing the benefits of using the new system. We can monitor exactly what progress someone is making, as well as their GP also being able to see the way in which they are being helped. It really helps for people to be able to see how far they have come.”
Elemental CEO, Jennifer Neff said: “We’re so excited about this new partnership with Cornwall Council and Volunteer Cornwall. Julie and her team are so passionate about reducing health inequalities in communities throughout Cornwall and we know that they are going to be making a huge impact through their new digitally enhanced services.”
Developing and supporting schemes like social prescribing supports the council to deliver better health outcomes for everyone which is part of its “Healthy Cornwall priority”, working with partners to shape Cornwall’s future health and care services.
For more information on Social Prescribing visit https://www.socialprescribingcornwall.org.uk/