Waltham Forest Social Prescribing Service

Old woman hula hooping on left and right side

Social prescribing has been set up in Waltham Forest to help our residents become healthier, happier and connected to organisations.

Social Prescribing involves supporting patients and residents to improve their health, wellbeing, and social welfare by connecting them to non-clinical community services which are often run by the local council or voluntary & community organisations. By having a guided conversation with the social prescriber, people can focus on what really matters to them as an individual, while also becoming connected with community groups that provide practical and emotional support.
Social prescribing works for many people, in particular, those with long-term health conditions, who feel isolated or who need support with their mental health. People with some complex social needs can also benefit from social prescribing due to the positive effect it can have on their wellbeing.

The Waltham Forest Social Prescribing service aims to support and connect local patients/residents, over 18 years old, who require non-medical support to improve their health and wellbeing; examples include:

  • Receiving welfare advice, regarding entitlements to benefits and how to manage debt
  • Increasing physical activity or healthy eating
  • Joining in with local activities such as art classes or gardening groups
  • Connecting to peer support for people experiencing bereavement or living with long term conditions
  • Connecting to local befriending or volunteering schemes
  • Training to help build confidence or getting back to work
  • Receiving assistance with a cold home or energy bills 
  • Connecting patient/residents to access support for ‘Long Covid’ recovery e.g. return to work  (paid/unpaid)
  • Adults 18 years plus
  • Patients/residents should be able to attend a local activity independently
  • Patients/residents should be able to participate in the activity without requiring a lot of support from the Group facilitator
  • Referrals to Social Prescribing are made by Health professionals including GPs, community health services and Social Workers
  • 75% of referrals are from GPs and the remaining 25 % from Adult Social Care, Talking Therapies and other Community Health and Mental Health Services

This WF SP service was established in 2016 as a Telephone only support service. The Core Team consists of three team members Sharon Hanooman & Barbora Ertlova (Full time) and Shamal Waraich (Part-time), based in Public Health. We also work closely with three part-time Social Prescribers based in the Voluntary Community Sector (WF Age UK, OrganicLea and Citizens Advice WF) and nine Social Prescribers (Link Workers) based in GP Primary Care Networks (PCNs) working as part of the wider WF Social Prescribing service.

  • In April 2020, nine Social Prescribers were recruited based in seven WF PCNs offering support to patients within their own GP practices and surgeries.
  • The Local Authority and Voluntary Community Sector Social Prescribers support residents referred by Adult Social Care, Talking Therapies and other Community Health and Mental Health Services
  • Social Prescribing Wellbeing Cafés will provide face to face support and activities in three Community premises in the Borough.

Social Prescribers can provide information or advice on community-based activities and support services to agencies, voluntary community sector enterprises (VCSE) and key workers at our regular Wellbeing Café and Networking events.

Further information Click to get info

For further details contact social.prescribing@walthamforest.gov.uk